- Producer: Dana Estates - read about the Estate
- Winemakers: Philippe Melka & Chris Cooney
- Region (AVA): Napa (Howell Mountain)
- Blend: 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot
- Vintage production: 242 cases
- Winery location: Rutherford
- Owner: Hi Sang Lee
- First vintage: 2006
- Drinking window: 2023-2045
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.
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.
A very wet January and February started the season with the soil full of water which allowed the vines access to all the nutrients in the soil. The spring was dry with more moderate temperatures than the last several years leading to a slightly later budbreak at the beginning of April. After budbreak, the weather was dry and warmer than in the previous five seasons. This led to a large healthy canopy due to adequate soil moisture. The large canopy dried down the soil rapidly early in the season setting the vines up to produce smaller, thicker skinned berries. The thick skins and careful water management allowed the fruit to weather the multiple heat spells that characterized the 2017 vintage. The three spells in July before veraison, as well as those in September, slowed sugar accumulation leading to lower brix at harvest. Grapevines behave similar in extreme heat as they do in cool weather, they stop ripening. Thus, the wines from 2017 while having robust tannins from the dry spring, also have a finesse and brightness reminiscent of cooler vintages.
Dana Estates Lotus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
"The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Lotus Vineyard is positively dazzling. The heat of the year seems to have given the Lotus an extra kick of ripeness and sweetness in its tannin that works so well here. Sumptuous and lush, with magnificent balance, the Lotus is stunningly beautiful from the very first taste. Ripe red cherry, red plum, mint, rose petal and licorice build into the creamy, enveloping finish. Stated simply, the 2017 Lotus is shaping up to be one of the wines of the vintage. Wow."
94-97 points, Antonio Galloni (Vinous, Jan. 2020)