• Producer: Dana Estates - read about the Estate
  • Winemakers: Philippe Melka & Chris Cooney
  • Region (AVA): Napa (Rutherford)
  • Blend: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Vintage production: 451 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 2018/19 winter and early spring brought ample rain to the Napa Valley. A dry April was followed by one of the wettest May’s on record, providing much needed hydration. The moist soils meant the vines had access to nutrients, especially potassium, resulting in full canopies and softer acidity in the wine. The cooler weather through mid-summer slowed shoot growth and delayed verasion by a few weeks.


In mid-August the season heated up with 90+F temperatures that continued through the end of September. This allowed the vines to mature with sugar and color accumulation after the cool start to the season. Ideal weather conditions in October allowed the fruit to ripen to optimal maturity without the threat of rain or heat spikes. The 2019 wines reflect the vintage with opulent fruit, silky tannins, and a savory structured finish.


The cool wet start to the growing season delayed harvest by a couple of weeks. The majority of the vineyard was picked on October 16th. This was followed with a smaller pick of the vines grown in cooler, clay soils on the 22nd. The fruit was nearly perfect with moderately sized berries and no dehydration. The fruit was fermented in an oak upright tank on skins for 20 days. Smaller lots were fermented in a mix of small and large barrels for 33 days. The wines were drained directly into barrel. The wine was racked once for blending in the spring of 2020 and then aged on fine lees until bottling.


Dana Estates Helms Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

  • "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. This barrel sample of the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Helms Vineyard is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and is due to be aged for 21 months in French oak barrels, 100% new. Deep garnet-purple colored, it explodes with bombastic scents of crushed blackberries, plum preserves and crème de cassis followed by nuances of red roses, black tea, eucalyptus oil and dusty soil. Medium to full-bodied, the palate shimmers with juicy black fruits, supported by ripe, soft tannins and lovely freshness, finishing long and fragrant."

    97-99 points, Lisa Perrotti-Brown (The Wine Advocate, Mar. 2021)