Last Call on Morlet and Melka’s Protégé’s Top Selection
Britt Nichols’ 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Napa Valley was a smash hit on Wine Access. When we sold our last case in March of last year, we called the Nicolas Morlet and Philippe Melka protégé, hoping for more. “It’s all gone!” Nichols told us, “But I’ve been holding something else back. It’s even better.” As we would learn, during the blending of the Reserve, two barrels of Cabernet — aging in 100% new oak — stood out from the rest. Those barrels, along with a dose of Petit Verdot from one of Robert Parker’s highest-rated Napa vineyards, would become Britt’s most hedonistic offering to date: the 2014 Nichols Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve Napa Valley. First offered last summer, those cases literally flew. We begged and pleaded with Britt for the very last cases — which she finally offered to us! Her release price? $110. For Wine Access clients? Just $34 per bottle on this exclusive — the last bottles of a truly monumental wine.
Britt clearly recalls the moment in November 2015 when the two barrels of Cabernet Sauvignon stopped her in her tracks. The 100% new oak added round, toasted oak and warm vanilla notes. But more than that, as Britt explained, “Both lots were distinctly more refined — really robust, but also very smooth. So, of course, my wheels started spinning — then I run the numbers. Sometimes the bottom line is a little hairier than I’d like.”
This time, with margins practically nonexistent, Britt knew this would be a passion project or it would be nothing at all. So what did the Nicolas Morlet and Philippe Melka protégé do? She went one step further and added a dose of Petit Verdot from one of Robert Parker’s highest-rated Napa vineyards — she asked us to keep mum about which one — adding weighty tannins and dense black fruit to the already sumptuous blend.
“Did it make financial sense? To age those wines for 6 more months, and then shell out for another bottling run and new labels? No one said making great wines made great money.”
Britt’s Private Reserve turned out spectacularly, but the question of the bottom line still remained. Set to be released at $110 per bottle, Britt could hardly wait any longer to offset the added costs from aging, bottling, and labeling. We made a deal on the spot to make it our problem. We think it’s a win-win: Britt keeps her passion project and Wine Access clients get an exclusive offer at an extraordinary value. The last cases are up for grabs and once they’re gone…