Red

2018 Arrow & Branch Cabernet Sauvignon Vine Hill Ranch

Cabernet Sauvignon

  • USA
  • California
  • Napa Valley
  • Oakville

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Community Tasting Note

  • Cristal2000 Likes this wine: 98 points

    August 1, 2020 - Arrow and Branch Tasting 2016-2018 Vintages: Flat out amazing and perhaps the best wine AB has ever produced. Cassis fruit, dark cherry, hints of char, herbs, tobacco and baking spices on a compelling nose. Shows the hallmark extremely fresh and vibrant style of AB wines with epic concentrated and pure fruit, to go along with a savory character that sets the complexity apart from other offerings. Full bodied, incredibly well layered and showing the "it" factor many of us enthusiasts are trying to find. Refined but prominent tannic structure will give this a long life. Excellent acidity and balance. Super long and satisfying finish. This is one you buy without any reservations.

    2 people found this helpful 2,285 views

32 Comments

  • NickRut commented:

    8/4/20, 10:08 AM - I gotta ask - Where did you get this and what was the price?

  • blarmston commented:

    8/4/20, 10:56 AM - The first rule of the “Getting Early Access to Primo Wines”
    Club is that you do not talk about the “Getting Early Access to Primo Wines” Club...

  • Cristal2000 commented:

    8/4/20, 11:17 AM - Haha. Generally Blarmston is correct, but I don't believe in this case the winery minds if I post on their future release. I was fortunate to get a nice preview of the 2018's next to 2016/2017 for most of their offerings. The VHR is $225 on release, which will be in about a year for the 2018. Only the second year they are buying grapes from that source. Jennifer Williams is starting to work a little magic at AB.

  • #1Winelover commented:

    8/5/20, 4:09 AM - yes haha -- you basically have to follow the guidelines from the winery. Some don't mind posting; some do. But especially for folks who are on or near the East Coast, it's a way to try before a major buy!

    I have had a few A&B wines in the past but with this review, will try them again. Nice review, C2000.

  • MJP Hou TX commented:

    4/27/21, 9:27 AM - Cristal2000, I just received my allocation email and based on your review might pick up a few. Assuming you are picking up some still even after your most recent trip?

    MJP

  • Cristal2000 commented:

    4/27/21, 11:02 AM - Hi MJP: I was able to get it a little while back and have a bunch. I haven't had it recently, but I was clearly very impressed. They are also great people and Josh will help you out if you need anything.

  • bsumoba commented:

    5/1/21, 7:15 AM - How does this compare to the Estate VHR? I'm going to get my allocation as well to complete the 18' lineup up VHR SVDs

  • Cristal2000 commented:

    5/1/21, 7:41 AM - bsumoba: I really love the VHR Estate. I just had the 18 (no notes yet, but CSIMM got some up), and it was really good, if overshadowed by the 18 MacDonald during the tasting. From memory, the VHR is not quite as full bodied or concentrated as the AB edition. The VHR's strength is focus, precision, complexity and balance, which gives it the ability to age extremely well. It's more old world than most wines coming out of the region IMO. The AB has a lot of those traits, albeit with a bit more new world flair (only comparing against the VHR, since generally AB is a bit more restrained than others). The AB has a tad more of a silky mouthfeel and the tannins are slightly riper. The VHR tannin profile is nearly perfectly fine grained and pixilated, so I'd say it outshines the AB a little there. Both have excellent structure. Just like the VHR, I expect the AB won't truly show its best for a number of years, but I do think it'll be in its prime a little earlier.

  • bsumoba commented:

    5/11/21, 3:35 PM - Do you know what blocks AB is pulling from at VHR? Tor is Block 7 and we all know VHR is 1, 3, 4 and 6.

    I'd also be curious to know what blocks MM is pulling from (if you knew). It's more of personal knowledge when talking about these winds to friends and how the differences can be so stark even though they are grown relatively close together.

  • Cristal2000 commented:

    5/11/21, 3:52 PM - Bsumoba: VHR was block 4 (and clone 4) for 2017 and 2018. In 2019, they are adding block 3B. I am not sure about MM. I'll have to ask Sam next time I have the chance.

  • Cristal2000 commented:

    5/11/21, 9:09 PM - Sam K just told me MM VHR is block 4 and 7. So lots of block 4 around these parts.

  • bsumoba commented:

    5/11/21, 9:34 PM - Wow...direct contact with Sam K? ;)

    I wonder where the juice from 2 is going. 5 was just replanted so that's known.

    I thought I read somewhere some of the Lail juice is coming from VHR? Dont quote me on that though.

  • MJP Hou TX commented:

    5/12/21, 4:46 AM - That is correct for the J Daniel Cuvee but for the other Lail offerings I'm not sure.

    VINEYARDS
    100% Cabernet Sauvignon
    Heimark Vineyard - Calistoga
    Mole Hill Vineyard - Howell Mountain Estate
    Vine Hill Ranch Vineyard - Oakville

    https://shop.lailvineyards.com/assets/images/products/media/Lail2016J.DanielCuveeCabernetSauvignon-WineProfilewithreviews.pdf

  • MJP Hou TX commented:

    5/12/21, 4:49 AM - My understanding the benchland blocks add depth to these wines. Trying to call if it also adds structure and backbone. Need to watch the vinous live video again.

  • Cristal2000 commented:

    5/12/21, 10:27 AM - Vine Hill is in a ton of wines. Accendo is another one that sources part of its blend from there. And of course, the most famous is Bond Vecina.

  • bsumoba commented:

    5/12/21, 11:23 AM - Cristal - That is good to know. I was not aware that Accendo and Bond Vecina were sourcing partly from VHR.

    I thought those were both 100% estate bottlings.

  • Cristal2000 commented:

    5/12/21, 11:26 AM - Accendo is a blend, partially from VHR. Vecina is 100% sourced from VHR, but they will not tell you that explicitly.

  • bsumoba commented:

    5/12/21, 11:27 AM - MJP - I knew I saw it somewhere. What made me question whether I saw that was on their 19' J. Daniel Cuvee, their wine profile does not explicitly state VHR, but rather Oakville. I noticed Stag's Leap is now in the 19' blend. I wonder what vineyard this is.

    Cristal - Is it worth it to pop an A&B VHR now or hold and wait?

  • Cristal2000 commented:

    5/12/21, 12:43 PM - Bsumoba: it depends on how many AB VHR's you have. They definitely beg for some age, but when I had it last year it was still really enjoyable. If you've got a bunch, don't think there's any harm in giving one a run with air.

  • MJP Hou TX commented:

    5/12/21, 2:04 PM - Just texted with Chantal at Lail. Vine Hill Blocks 3B and 7 are in the 2019 J Daniel Cuvee.

  • #1Winelover commented:

    5/13/21, 1:00 PM - Are you all buying the futures for the '19 Lail? I'm debating. The wine on the secondary market is 1/2 way between the futures price and their release price.

  • bsumoba commented:

    5/13/21, 1:06 PM - #1winelover - For me, I just bought a 3 pack. First vintage of Lail for me. MJP convinced me to go in on the futures and it helps that 19' is my son's birthyear, so I got some excuses to splurge...lol

  • Cristal2000 commented:

    5/13/21, 1:15 PM - For me on Lail, I am not buying the futures because I can modify the club wine to get 3 at the futures price next February. If it was still $175 like last year, I would definitely be adding more, but don't need to at the $225 level.

  • MJP Hou TX commented:

    5/13/21, 1:30 PM - I'm apart of the "Robin's Nest" so I pick up 6 bottles of J Daniel and Georgia Sav B. Also, some Mole Hill when it's produced. It was nice getting futures pricing on 18 @$175

  • Cristal2000 commented:

    5/13/21, 1:44 PM - So MJP, are they making a 2020? And if so, do you intend to maintain the Robin's Nest status? I was new to Lail last year. I like their wine, although I don't see any separation from wines like Vice Versa etc. Their club pricing was compelling.

  • MJP Hou TX commented:

    5/13/21, 2:09 PM - Cristal. I bet Lail will release library wines to their club members in place of the 2020 vintage.

  • bsumoba commented:

    5/13/21, 3:03 PM - MJP - That seems to be a common thing wineries and producers are going to be doing when the 2020 vintages are supposed to be released. There aren't too many wineries I have talked to that said they are releasing a 2020 vintage.

    What I am curious about is the people who buy grapes and have contracts. I wonder if they are not obligated to buy them or if they work out some sharing of the costs.

  • Cristal2000 commented:

    5/13/21, 3:24 PM - MJP: have they said they won't be releasing a 2020 wine then? I have not heard. That is the only thing that scares me about clubs.

    Bsumoba - it depended on the relationship with the grower and if the grapes were harvested from what I understand. For example, I know Vice Versa didn't have to pay for the grapes because they hadn't been picked. Was a bit shocked Beckstoffer actually ate the cost, but I'm sure he has good insurance. I know others that shared the cost with the grower to maintain a good relationship.

  • MJP Hou TX commented:

    5/13/21, 3:50 PM - I'm reaching out to them now to find out. I'll let you know.

  • MJP Hou TX commented:

    5/13/21, 3:52 PM - Just heard back. Library options that received 100 pts will be offered in place of 2020 vintage.

  • Cristal2000 commented:

    5/13/21, 4:10 PM - MJP: Good info, thanks! Hopefully they will not use library pricing, which is my biggest pet peeve in the industry.

  • MJP Hou TX commented:

    5/13/21, 4:13 PM - Agreed. If that is the case I’ll move on from the membership.

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