- Producer: Dana Estates - read about the Estate
- Winemakers: Philippe Melka & Chris Cooney
- Region (AVA): Napa (Howell Mountain)
- Blend: 97% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot
- Vintage production: 236 cases
- Winery location: Rutherford
- Owner: Hi Sang Lee
- First vintage: 2006
- Drinking window: 2020-2040
About The Wine:
Located at 1,200 feet (365 metres) above sea level in the Vaca Mountains on the east side of the valley, Lotus is the warmest of Dana's three vineyards. With rocky soils and low yielding vines facing west that embrace the afternoon sun, Lotus produces a wine of power and concentration. Packed with layers of black fruit, with notes of mocha, anise and graphite, Lotus tends to be the most full bodied of the three wines Dana produces.
The 2016 vintage allowed head winemaker, Chris Cooney to reflect upon crafting the Dana wines and the full tenure of the winery. In their combined efforts, Philippe Melka and Chris further concentrated on vineyard expression and refined farming practices. The anticipation of the vintage allowed for proper planning and execution of an early harvest of phenomenal quality.
Dana's philosophy of minimal intervention in the vineyard and winery has resulted in a slow progression to dry farming. This forces the vines to look deeper for water, but also for nutrients and minerals. The results are balanced vines that produce small intensely flavored berries with thick darkly colored skins. The 2016 season started with the soil full of water giving the vines a respite from 3 years of drought. The season started with a warm April and May which promoted rapid shoot growth with no water limitations. This established healthy canopies early in the season. A little extra work was done to keep dappled light in the fruit zone open which is critical for tannin development.
Flowering occurred in mid-May during warm weather which is ideal. The crop level was moderate and slightly below average. The summer heat was moderate with only a few heat spells; an almost perfect season. Veraison was early giving plenty of time for flavor and tannin development before harvest. This near perfect growing season yielded wines with great balance, precision, and depth of flavor.
The harvest started with the Petit Verdot during a cool spell on September 22, and continued on September 23rd picking the Cabernet Sauvignon clone 4 followed by the clone 15 on September 26th. The clone 337 ripens a bit slower due to a North West exposure and was harvested on September 29th. Chris paired the fruit and structure expressed by the different clones with three different fermentation tank types; oak upright, concrete, and barrels. The wines were fermented with native yeast and macerated on skins for a little over 40 days. The wine was then taken off the skins and put directly into barrels. The wines were blended the spring after harvest and then left to age without racking until bottling.
Dana Estates Lotus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
"The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Lotus Vineyard is the most powerful and backward of the three single-vineyard Cabernets at Dana. Brisk and finely cut, the 2016 captures a stunning interplay of freshness, structure and vibrancy. Readers will have to be patient, as the 2016 is going to need a number of years to be at its very best. Even in the early going, though, it is pretty memorable. Gravel, sage, menthol, crushed flowers and white pepper add aromatic nuance to a brooding, tannic Cabernet Sauvignon built for the cellar."
100 points, Antonio Galloni (Vinous, Jan. 2020)
"The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Lotus Vineyard is magnificent in this tasting. Creamy and inviting, the 2016 possesses stunning textural resonance from the outset. Intense aromatics and polished tannins further elevate to its position as one of the most captivating, arrestingly beautiful wines of the year. Winemaker Chris Cooney adds that Lotus was the first site Dana moved towards dry farming, and the vineyard that seems to have handled that transition most successfully. The 2016 Lotus is going to give readers plenty to look forward to in the coming years, and hopefully, decades."
97-100 points, Antonio Galloni (Vinous, Dec. 2018)