- Producer: Dana Estates - read about the Estate
- Winemakers: Philippe Melka & Chris Cooney
- Region (AVA): Rutherford and Howell Mountain (Napa Valley)
- Blend: 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec, 1% Cabernet Franc
- Vintage production: c.1,200 cases
- Winery location: Rutherford
- Owner: Hi Sang Lee
- First vintage: 2013
- Drinking window: 2020-2030+
About The Wine:
The VASO Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of four unique Estate sites in the Napa Valley, with the Hershey Vineyard atop Howell Mountain providing the backbone of the wine. Through vigorous farming practices, and a minimally-interventionist approach in the winery, the VASO Cabernet Sauvignon is set apart by its freshness, purity of fruit, energy, balance, and the structure to are for a decade or more.
The 2015 vintage produced excellent fruit quality. The Dana Estates' vineyards received slightly less than average rainfall but compared to the previous years of drought conditions the vines started the growing season with ample water in the soil. The winter and spring were among the warmest on record and pushed bud-break 2-3 weeks ahead setting up for an early harvest. The warm dry spring led to less vine growth with shorter than average shoots. However, the much smaller than average crop with small berries and loose clusters created balanced vines.
The warm spring gave way to a summer that was hot and dry, causing some challenges with numerous heat spells that lasted multiple days. The small vine canopies and Dana's dedication to minimal irrigation over the last decade paid dividends in 2015 with minimal fruit desiccation even after prolonged 100F+ days with extremely low humidity. This gave the team the flexibility to harvest based on flavour not desiccation level and capture the character of the vineyard in the wines. The vintage will be remembered as an early, low yielding, hot vintage, with focused wines.
The early start to the season also made for Dana's earliest start to harvest. Starting on September 8th they harvested Crystal Spring over 3 days. Lotus was picked next on September 12th followed a week later by the earliest block at Hershey. Smaller vines and a commitment to minimal irrigation over the past decade produced intensely flavoured fruit with minimal dehydration. Harvest wrapped up with the clone 8 cabernet at Hershey on October 12th.
They used various fermentation vessels to harness the complexity of the sites. After undergoing native fermentation, the wines were drained and pressed directly to barrel where the native malolactic fermentation ran its course.
The wine spent 20 months in French oak from six coopers: Ermitage, Taransaud, Baron, Demptos, Sylvain, Artisan. It was bottles on 28th June, 2017.
Dana Estates VASO Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
"A firm, chewy red with very attractive, chewy tannins and juicy fruit. Blue fruit and spices. Full body. Intense. Flavorful finish. Drink or hold."
94 points, James Suckling (Oct. 2019)