- Producer: Dana Estates - read about the Estate
- Winemakers: Philippe Melka & Chris Cooney
- Region (AVA): Rutherford and Howell Mountain (Napa Valley)
- Blend: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
- Vintage production: c.500 cases
- Winery location: Rutherford
- Owner: Hi Sang Lee
- First vintage: 2013
- Drinking window: 2020-2025+
About The Wine:
From the cool, high-elevation, mineral-rich Hershey Vineyard, VASO Cellars crafts a small-lot Sauvignon Blanc in a rare, age-worthy style, Our Sauvignon Blanc expresses its site with marked minerality and lively citrus acidity. It benefits from ageing for 18 months in cement, oak and stainless steel.
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 team harvested their 1.64 acres of Hershey Sauvignon Blanc in three picks over the period of 11 days. Tradition has made this a “team” pick where all employees join for the first harvest of the season to pick, enjoy a meal and press the grapes. They gathered on August 31st to make a selective pass of only ripe golden clusters. On September 8th they made a second pass of the upper portion of the block that sits on bright red, well-drained soils. Two days after they harvested the north facing and coolest part of the block.
All lots were gently basket pressed to release the aromatics in the skins. The clean, flowing juice went directly to barrel for both native and inoculated fermentation in once used neutral French oak, and cement egg. The lees were stirred for the first six months after fermentation to integrate the oak with the fruit and to build the body of the wine. The wine was only racked once for blending just prior to bottling.
Dana Estates VASO Sauvignon Blanc 2015
"The 2015 VASO Sauvignon Blanc showcases the balance of retained acidity and richness, while capturing the vibrancy that Hershey Vineyard has to offer. Aromas of lemon curd, crème brûlée, sage and honey are accompanied by mouthwatering acidity and a clean finish, a true expression of the mountain site. The combination of a warm vintage with small berries produced condensed tropical flavors of pineapple, juicy melon, and hints of candied ginger. Drink now or enjoy as the wine evolves over the next three to five years. Serve with dishes that can pair with the creamy texture of the wine but also have enough acid to match the bright energy."
Chris Cooney, Dana Estates Winemaker