- Producer: Dana Estates - read about the Estate
- Winemakers: Philippe Melka & Chris Cooney
- Region (AVA): Napa (Napa Valley)
- Blend: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
- Vintage production: 372 cases
- Winery location: Rutherford
- Owner: Hi Sang Lee
- First vintage: 2006
- Drinking window: 2025-2055
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.
The year started off with a dry January and February. March and April, however, brought ample rainfall to fill the soil reservoir giving the vines ample access to soil nutrients. Late rains delayed bud break a few weeks with the growing season getting underway in early April. Mild temperatures in April and May brought steady canopy growth through bloom which occurred at the beginning of June. The perfect weather during flowering and fruit set in addition to the normal winter rainfall in 2017, set the vines up for a larger than average crop. The warmest month came in July, shifting the vines from shoot growth to berry ripening mode. The rest of the season was mild, dry and without heat spikes; perfect weather for developing color and flavor while moderating sugar levels at peak ripeness. The 2018 wines express dense color, polished tannins, and a near-perfect balance of fruit and acidity.
The steep rocky hillside of Lotus Vineyard demands the site be 100% hand farmed. The rocky volcanic soils force the vines to look deep for water, nutrients, and minerals. The results are balanced vines that produced very low yields of small intensely-flavoured berries with thick, darkly colored skins. The 2018 Lotus Cabernet Sauvignon was fermented with native yeast and underwent a 25–34-day maceration to fully extract optimum tannin and colour.
Following maceration, the wine was then taken off the skins and put directly into barrels. The wines were blended in the spring then left to age for 26 months in 100% new French Oak without racking until bottling on 13th January, 2021.
Dana Estates Lotus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
"Seductive aromas of blackberries, blackcurrants, black olives, pine needles and violets followthrough to a full body. The tannins are so poised and dynamic, while being extremely fine and focused. It goes on for minutes. Caresses every millimeter of your palate. A truly great 2018 that highlights the balance, finesse, and refinement of the vintage. Needs time to come completely together. Try after 2026."
100 points, James Suckling (Apr. 2021)
"Lotus Vineyard is just below Howell Mountain, not high enough to make that AVA. A very steep vineyard, 100% hand farmed, Lotus is by far the warmest site for this estate. The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Lotus Vineyard is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon (clones 15, 4 and 337), aged for 25 months in French oak barrels, 100% new. Deep garnet-purple colored, it sashays out of the glass with bold, flamboyant scents of chocolate-covered cherries, wild blueberries and warm cassis with hints of menthol, lilacs, clove oil and crushed rocks plus a waft of iron ore. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is wonderfully elegant, delivering vibrant black and blue fruits with a firm, exquisitely fine-grained texture and fantastic freshness, finishing with epic length and energy. 372 cases were made."
99+ points, Lisa Perrotti-Brown (The Wine Advocate, Feb. 2021)