Napa Value and Quality from Ulysses

Nick Jackson, MW Consultant | August 22, 2023

The French presence in Napa Valley has for decades been a fixture of the region; estates like Opus One and Dominus deploying Bordeaux expertise to make outstanding American Cabernet. One relatively recent arrival is that of Ulysses, Christian Moueix's second Napa estate (after Dominus). Ulysses is located on the Oakville bench, with vines planted on the deep soils at the foot of the Mayacamas range, on the west side of the valley.

The soils facilitate Moueix's strong commitment to dry farming. Refraining from irrigation is unusual in Napa, and encourages deep rooting of the vines and, of course, reduces water use. The wine is largely Cabernet Sauvignon, and the style showcases complexity and dryness rather than power and density. Perhaps that's the dry farming, or the terroir, or perhaps it's the French influence. Whatever the case, the result is brilliant wines that are particularly well-priced, even as their reputation continues to grow.