2015 'Vaso' Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon •Hershey, Lotus, Helms, Crystal Springs
California: Napa Valley
Va so so SO good
WHOA! Collectors, listen up!
“A very impressive revival of this historical estate in Rutherford, under the diligent consultancy of Philippe Melka, Dana Estates is producing polished and expressive superstar wines” - Wine Advocate
If names like Colgin, Shafer, Carter, Harlan Estate get your salivary juices flowing, then you probably also know Dana Estates. The famed winery sits in the pantheon of Napa’s elite. While this 2015 Vaso - their ‘weekday’ Cabernet Sauvignon - serves as our feature, we also have FOUR other gems in the store - albeit just a few bottles of these highly allocated treasures rarely seen outside their mailing list.
If you are a collector, or simply want to snag a few bottles for that special occasion, head over NOW. These will not last.
Now, onto the story…
It was an overcast day in Rutherford’s hillsides up against the Mayacamas range. The unmarked gate took a while to open and the road that leads to one of the most stunning wineries you’ll ever see was long and windy. Dana Estates is not easy to find even if you’re able to get an appointment. Neither are their wines that have attained perfection since their third release back in 2007 earning a first 100-point review by Robert Parker. They have not skipped a beat since.
To assure their pristine estate vineyards make the best wines possible, they have created a true ‘second wine’ program. The production for Vaso is TINY because what they painstakingly separate as worthy of the single-vineyard program is all outstanding but there are enough young vines to put this blend together to further concentrate the top end. In a flight with its monster siblings - it’s cut from the same cloth - and even more approachable. An unfathomable feat for $100 vs. the $500+ price tags in the lineup, the 2015 Vaso truly stood out as an astonishing value during this recent visit.
The saturated plum / purple color fades to a much gentler garnet circumference glowing with grace. The pedigreed perfume gathers around lead pencil, liqueur-like notes intermixed with sweet red and black currants, plums, cedar, and spice. A single whiff is all you need to know that you’re amongst the very elite of Napa Valley. Extremely elegant on the palate, a pleasant surprise given the nose, medium-bodied, with cherries, intense concentration, richness, and silky tannins. On the complex finish, hints of tobacco leaf, cedar, and nutmeg resonate long alongside extraordinary precision and purity. While this wine is hefty enough to accompany lavishly grilled steaks, it also bears the elegance to enhance lighter dishes too. A perfect marriage of new school and old school defines this timeless classic.
Vaso has been around for just 3 vintages now and as these younger vines come to maturity the program will not stay around. Seize the day! And if you can afford to, this is best as a by the case buy. It’ll give Maidens, Matriarchs, hell, even Second Flights a run for the money, guaranteed as this is by far the best price amongst the select few establishments that get allocated some.
All said and done, this MUST be the best value in Melka-made cult Cab out there. Given his track record at some of the very top wine estates around the globe (Pétrus, Haut-Brion, Dominus, Bryant Family, Hundred Acre, Dalla Valle, etc.) you just can’t go wrong.
94 Points – James Suckling
“Nestled just below the Mayacamas Mountains in the Rutherford appellation is Dana Estates, a relatively new property with some exceptional vineyards that produces some of the most compelling cabernets in the Napa Valley region. Korean entrepreneur Hi Sang Lee bought the estate in 2005, and since then the winery has only gone from strength to strength. Dana currently makes four wines, three of which are single vineyards: Helms in Rutherford, Hershey in Howell Mountain and Lotus in the Vaca Mountains. Through these bottlings, the estate aims to emphasize the typicity of the different terroirs of the Napa Valley. A blend of the younger vines, the 2015 Vaso is a firm, chewy red with very attractive, chewy tannins and juicy fruit. Blue fruit and spices. Full body. Intense. Flavorful finish. Drink or hold.”
Saturated plum/purple fading to a much gentler garnet circumference glowing with grace
Lead pencil, liqueur-like, sweet red and black currants, plums, cedar, and spice
Extremely elegant, medium-bodied, with cherries, intense concentration, richness, and silky tannins
Tobacco leaf, cedar, and nutmeg resonate long with extraordinary precision and purity
Hefty enough to accompany lavishly grilled steaks
What the Winery Says
- Consulting winemaker
- Philippe Melka
- Chris Cooney
- 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec, 1% Cabernet Franc
- Howell Mountain & Rutherford, Napa Valley
- Hershey, Lotus, Helms, Crystal Springs
- Total acidity
- 5.4 g/L
- 3.90 g/L
- Bottling date
- June 28, 2017
- 20 months
- 50% new French oak
- Ermitage, Taransaud, Baron, Demptos, Sylvain, Artisan