• Producer: Dana Estates - read about the Estate
  • Winemakers: Philippe Melka & Chris Cooney
  • Region (AVA): Napa (Rutherford)
  • Blend: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Vintage production: 422 cases
  • Winery location: Rutherford
  • Owner: Hi Sang Lee
  • First vintage: 2005
  • Drinking window: 2024-2050


About The Wine:


This gently sloping site is relatively cool, and is protected from the intensity of the late afternoon heat during the height of the growing season. The gravelly loam soils provide excellent drainage and wonderful fruit purity. Helms Vineyard Cabernet displays the classic profile of the Rutherford Bench: dark fruit, richly layered with a touch of spice and earth. The finely grained “dusty” tannins so prevalent in the appellation are integrated and harmonious, producing a wine of sophistication and depth.


The season started off with a dry January and February. However, March and April brought ample rainfall to fill the soil reservoir giving the vine ample access to soil nutrients. The later rains delayed budbreak a few weeks with the growing season starting in the first couple weeks in April. Mild temperatures in April and May brought steady canopy growth through bloom at the beginning of June. The perfect weather during set in addition to the wet 2017 winter set the vines up for a larger than average crop. A hot July helped shift the vines from shoot growth to berry ripening mode. The rest of the season was mild with only a few hot days, perfect weather for developing color and flavor while moderating sugar levels at peak ripeness. The 2018 wines express dense colour, polished tannins, and an almost perfect balance of fruit and acidity.


Dana's philosophy of minimal invervnetion in the vineyard is realised through organic farming, a focus on soil health and minimal irrigation. The result is healthy vines that are balanced and produce thick skinned darkly coloured grapes. This equates to wines with perfumed aromatics, precise flavors, and silky tannins. The mild summer and fall allowed for slow even ripening and we started harvest a two week later than average. The majority of the vineyard was picked on October 17th and 19th. The fruit was near perfect with moderately sized berries and no dehydration. The fruit was fermented in an oak upright tank on skins for 30-33 days. Smaller lots were fermented in a mix of small and large barrels for 32 days. The wines were drained directly into barrel. The wine was racked once for blending in the spring of 2019 and then aged on fine lees until bottling.


The fruit was fermented in a French oak, upright tank on skins for 30-33 days.  Smaller lots were fermented in a mix of small and large barrels for 32 days.  The wines were drained directly into French oak barrels.  The wine was racked once for blending in the spring of 2019 and then aged for 20 months in 100% new French Oak on fine lees until bottling on 18th June, 2020.


Dana Estates Helms Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

  • "Sweet white chocolate with currant, plum and subtle hazelnut on the nose. Some other spices, such as nutmeg and cloves. Floral. Full-bodied with extremely fine tannins that go on and on. Beautiful center plate that is dense yet polished and fine and continues… Exceptional. Fantastic finish. Drinkable now but needs four or five years to show its true greatness."

    99 points, James Suckling (Apr. 2021)


    "Helms vineyard consists of five acres on gravelly loam, right on the northern edge of the Rutherford bench, planted in 1997 and 1998 to Cabernet Sauvignon clones See and 337. The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Helms Vineyard is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and was aged for 21 months in French oak barrels, 100% new. Deep garnet-purple colored, it rolls out of the glass with seductive scents of Morello cherries, blackcurrant pastilles and mulberries with hints of chocolate mint, violets and forest floor, plus a waft of cinnamon toast. Full-bodied, the palate has an ethereal weight, dancing with bright, vibrant black and blue fruits and a lively line of freshness, textured with beautifully ripe, velvety tannins, finishing long and mineral laced. Wow. 422 cases were made."

    98+ points, Lisa Perrotti-Brown (The Wine Advocate, Feb. 2021)