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Dana Estates 2013-2016

Tasted June 17, 2019 by Cailles with 198 views

Introduction

For more information on the tasting and Dana please read the tasting story of my friend sirpat007 which made a long intro with a lot of interesting details.

Btw, this was f*king awesome!

Flight 1 (2 notes)

White
2015 Dana Estates Sauvignon Blanc Hershey Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain
95 points
Once-in-a-lifetime tasting with winemaker Chris Cooney. We tasted the past 4 vintages (2013- 2016) of all their wines. Conclusions: 1) Incredibly high level: 93 as lowest score, many 95/96s and one 98 point wine (I rarely go so high in such broad tastings where you can't follow the wine over 5h). 2) Main reasons: weightless structure (not many Napa wines achieve that level), very elegant, high aromatic intensity, complexity and precision, perfect ripeness. 3) "Entry-level" wines (Vaso - great in 13/16, Onda - always a bit too fat) are very good but do not have the length or elegance (Onda) of the big 3, which each have a distinctive profile: Helms is probably the most purely perfumed (but overall a tad behind the others), Lotus is the most hedonistic and dense wine, Hershey the most complex, intellectual wine. 4) Wine of the Night? Probably the Lotus 2014. But others might likely surpass it one day (Hershey 13/16, Lotus 16). The 3 big wines got a 2-4 hour decant (which did good), all others PnPed.

TN: Lots of fresh spearmint on the nose an palate around a core of fresh tropical fruit. Dense and deep, creamy but not heavy, fresh with a perfectly integrated acidity and a saline kick towards the end. Very good length and overall probably the best pure Sauvignon Blanc I've ever had (certainly the best Napa SB). Worth the heavy price tag (around $200). But then came the 2016 and topped this 2015...
White
2016 Dana Estates Sauvignon Blanc Hershey Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain
97 points
Once-in-a-lifetime tasting with winemaker Chris Cooney. We tasted the past 4 vintages (2013- 2016) of all their wines. Conclusions: 1) Incredibly high level: 93 as lowest score, many 95/96s and one 98 point wine (I rarely go so high in such broad tastings where you can't follow the wine over 5h). 2) Main reasons: weightless structure (not many Napa wines achieve that level), very elegant, high aromatic intensity, complexity and precision, perfect ripeness. 3) "Entry-level" wines (Vaso - great in 13/16, Onda - always a bit too fat) are very good but do not have the length or elegance (Onda) of the big 3, which each have a distinctive profile: Helms is probably the most purely perfumed (but overall a tad behind the others), Lotus is the most hedonistic and dense wine, Hershey the most complex, intellectual wine. 4) Wine of the Night? Probably the Lotus 2014. But others might likely surpass it one day (Hershey 13/16, Lotus 16). The 3 big wines got a 2-4 hour decant (which did good), all others PnPed.

TN: Even better than the excellent 2015 and definitely the best Napa and probably best Sauvignon Blanc I’ve ever had. As all wines this evening, the 2016 showed a great sense of place and a very high precision surpassing the 2015. Cool, fresh profile, liquid rocks, green fresh herbal aromas, mainly fresh mint, fine sweet fruit core, good density and mouthfeel, excellent cut from the very well-integrated acidity. Long finish.
1 person found this helpful Comment

Flight 2 (4 notes)

Red
2013 Dana Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Vaso USA, California, Napa Valley
94 points
Once-in-a-lifetime tasting with winemaker Chris Cooney. We tasted the past 4 vintages (2013- 2016) of all their wines. Conclusions: 1) Incredibly high level: 93 as lowest score, many 95/96s and one 98 point wine (I rarely go so high in such broad tastings where you can't follow the wine over 5h). 2) Main reasons: weightless structure (not many Napa wines achieve that level), very elegant, high aromatic intensity, complexity and precision, perfect ripeness. 3) "Entry-level" wines (Vaso - great in 13/16, Onda - always a bit too fat) are very good but do not have the length or elegance (Onda) of the big 3, which each have a distinctive profile: Helms is probably the most purely perfumed (but overall a tad behind the others), Lotus is the most hedonistic and dense wine, Hershey the most complex, intellectual wine. 4) Wine of the Night? Probably the Lotus 2014. But others might likely surpass it one day (Hershey 13/16, Lotus 16). The 3 big wines got a 2-4 hour decant (which did good), all others PnPed.

TN: As all 2013s, the stuffing is there but there are still some rough edges. Like all Vaso wines, there is a herbal, stems character as well as a a smokey, coal minerality. Along that some dark fruit and hints of red fruit. Medium length. A 4+ hour decant would have been beneficial here. 94 points but with upside to go higher.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2014 Dana Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Vaso USA, California, Napa Valley
93 points
Once-in-a-lifetime tasting with winemaker Chris Cooney. We tasted the past 4 vintages (2013- 2016) of all their wines. Conclusions: 1) Incredibly high level: 93 as lowest score, many 95/96s and one 98 point wine (I rarely go so high in such broad tastings where you can't follow the wine over 5h). 2) Main reasons: weightless structure (not many Napa wines achieve that level), very elegant, high aromatic intensity, complexity and precision, perfect ripeness. 3) "Entry-level" wines (Vaso - great in 13/16, Onda - always a bit too fat) are very good but do not have the length or elegance (Onda) of the big 3, which each have a distinctive profile: Helms is probably the most purely perfumed (but overall a tad behind the others), Lotus is the most hedonistic and dense wine, Hershey the most complex, intellectual wine. 4) Wine of the Night? Probably the Lotus 2014. But others might likely surpass it one day (Hershey 13/16, Lotus 16). The 3 big wines got a 2-4 hour decant (which did good), all others PnPed.

TN: With many big Napa wines, the 2014, as a slightly lighter, less concentrated vintage provides great early drinking pleasure. With this wine, however, which in itself is a lighter, less concentrated version of the big wines, the 2014 leads to a slightly - for a Napa wine -austere experience dominated purely by herbal, meaty and mineral aromas with the fruit completely in the background and not enough weight and length. Still a good wine, though but with not upside whatsoever.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2015 Dana Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Vaso USA, California, Napa Valley
95 points
Once-in-a-lifetime tasting with winemaker Chris Cooney. We tasted the past 4 vintages (2013- 2016) of all their wines. Conclusions: 1) Incredibly high level: 93 as lowest score, many 95/96s and one 98 point wine (I rarely go so high in such broad tastings where you can't follow the wine over 5h). 2) Main reasons: weightless structure (not many Napa wines achieve that level), very elegant, high aromatic intensity, complexity and precision, perfect ripeness. 3) "Entry-level" wines (Vaso - great in 13/16, Onda - always a bit too fat) are very good but do not have the length or elegance (Onda) of the big 3, which each have a distinctive profile: Helms is probably the most purely perfumed (but overall a tad behind the others), Lotus is the most hedonistic and dense wine, Hershey the most complex, intellectual wine. 4) Wine of the Night? Probably the Lotus 2014. But others might likely surpass it one day (Hershey 13/16, Lotus 16). The 3 big wines got a 2-4 hour decant (which did good), all others PnPed.

TN: With many big Napa wines, the 2015 has too much baby fat and is often too much for my palate. Of all the wines we had that night, the 2015 was the weakest vintage for the big wines (for drinking now). With this wine, however, which in itself is a lighter, less concentrated version of the big wines, the 2015 vintage is in a perfect spot full of the typical Vaso minerality and herbal aromas along with sweet red and dark fruit and good length and weight. Only the Vaso 2016 was better today.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2016 Dana Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Vaso USA, California, Napa Valley
96 points
Once-in-a-lifetime tasting with winemaker Chris Cooney. We tasted the past 4 vintages (2013- 2016) of all their wines. Conclusions: 1) Incredibly high level: 93 as lowest score, many 95/96s and one 98 point wine (I rarely go so high in such broad tastings where you can't follow the wine over 5h). 2) Main reasons: weightless structure (not many Napa wines achieve that level), very elegant, high aromatic intensity, complexity and precision, perfect ripeness. 3) "Entry-level" wines (Vaso - great in 13/16, Onda - always a bit too fat) are very good but do not have the length or elegance (Onda) of the big 3, which each have a distinctive profile: Helms is probably the most purely perfumed (but overall a tad behind the others), Lotus is the most hedonistic and dense wine, Hershey the most complex, intellectual wine. 4) Wine of the Night? Probably the Lotus 2014. But others might likely surpass it one day (Hershey 13/16, Lotus 16). The 3 big wines got a 2-4 hour decant (which did good), all others PnPed.

TN: Extremely seductive cool blue and black fruit profile along the herbal component and some hints of minerality. Very good precision, very focused, clear. As is true for all Vaso’s we had that night, the structure is impeccable with very fine tannins and a perfect acidity - with a sense of weightlessness. I would only deduct some points for a tad of heat showing (but the wines got probably a bit too warm) and the complexity which will have to develop further. At below 100 bucks this is a true winner and worth any search. I’ll try to buy some cases for sure.
1 person found this helpful Comment

Flight 3 (4 notes)

Red
2013 Dana Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Onda USA, California, Napa Valley
93 points
Once-in-a-lifetime tasting with winemaker Chris Cooney. We tasted the past 4 vintages (2013- 2016) of all their wines. Conclusions: 1) Incredibly high level: 93 as lowest score, many 95/96s and one 98 point wine (I rarely go so high in such broad tastings where you can't follow the wine over 5h). 2) Main reasons: weightless structure (not many Napa wines achieve that level), very elegant, high aromatic intensity, complexity and precision, perfect ripeness. 3) "Entry-level" wines (Vaso - great in 13/16, Onda - always a bit too fat) are very good but do not have the length or elegance (Onda) of the big 3, which each have a distinctive profile: Helms is probably the most purely perfumed (but overall a tad behind the others), Lotus is the most hedonistic and dense wine, Hershey the most complex, intellectual wine. 4) Wine of the Night? Probably the Lotus 2014. But others might likely surpass it one day (Hershey 13/16, Lotus 16). The 3 big wines got a 2-4 hour decant (which did good), all others PnPed.
.

TN: The additional weight, fat and sweetness vs all other wines shows on the nose and palate for all Ondas. But by all means, these wines still would belong to the upper half of all (good) Napa wines in terms of elegance and balance. Lots of dark fruit, some earthy tones, some herbal scents all packed in a round and very pleasant frame but with a bit of opulence. Probably the most ready 2013 of all wines with no hard edges and noticeable tannins. Good length. A few years of cellaring might do good things for this wine.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2014 Dana Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Onda USA, California, Napa Valley
94 points
Once-in-a-lifetime tasting with winemaker Chris Cooney. We tasted the past 4 vintages (2013- 2016) of all their wines. Conclusions: 1) Incredibly high level: 93 as lowest score, many 95/96s and one 98 point wine (I rarely go so high in such broad tastings where you can't follow the wine over 5h). 2) Main reasons: weightless structure (not many Napa wines achieve that level), very elegant, high aromatic intensity, complexity and precision, perfect ripeness. 3) "Entry-level" wines (Vaso - great in 13/16, Onda - always a bit too fat) are very good but do not have the length or elegance (Onda) of the big 3, which each have a distinctive profile: Helms is probably the most purely perfumed (but overall a tad behind the others), Lotus is the most hedonistic and dense wine, Hershey the most complex, intellectual wine. 4) Wine of the Night? Probably the Lotus 2014. But others might likely surpass it one day (Hershey 13/16, Lotus 16). The 3 big wines got a 2-4 hour decant (which did good), all others PnPed.

TN: The additional weight, fat and sweetness vs all other wines shows on the nose and palate for all Ondas. But by all means, these wines still would belong to the upper half of all (good) Napa wines in terms of elegance and balance. In my opinion, this is currently the best Onda to drink as the softer, fresher, less opulent vintages is best suited for this rather powerful cuvee. Less opulence on the nose and palate, still a good amount of not too sweet dark fruit, some welcomed nutty aromas I haven’t found in many other wines that night. Very soft structure, good length.
Red
2015 Dana Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Onda USA, California, Napa Valley
94 points
Once-in-a-lifetime tasting with winemaker Chris Cooney. We tasted the past 4 vintages (2013- 2016) of all their wines. Conclusions: 1) Incredibly high level: 93 as lowest score, many 95/96s and one 98 point wine (I rarely go so high in such broad tastings where you can't follow the wine over 5h). 2) Main reasons: weightless structure (not many Napa wines achieve that level), very elegant, high aromatic intensity, complexity and precision, perfect ripeness. 3) "Entry-level" wines (Vaso - great in 13/16, Onda - always a bit too fat) are very good but do not have the length or elegance (Onda) of the big 3, which each have a distinctive profile: Helms is probably the most purely perfumed (but overall a tad behind the others), Lotus is the most hedonistic and dense wine, Hershey the most complex, intellectual wine. 4) Wine of the Night? Probably the Lotus 2014. But others might likely surpass it one day (Hershey 13/16, Lotus 16). The 3 big wines got a 2-4 hour decant (which did good), all others PnPed.

TN: The additional weight, fat and sweetness vs all other wines shows on the nose and palate for all Ondas. But by all means, these wines still would belong to the upper half of all (good) Napa wines in terms of elegance and balance. This is a crowdpleaser with its sexy and seductive sweet fruit profile, not slutty, not too heavy or in any way cloying. Also thanks to a good minerality shining through and balancing the wine. Good structure and length.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2016 Dana Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Onda USA, California, Napa Valley
Once-in-a-lifetime tasting with winemaker Chris Cooney. We tasted the past 4 vintages (2013- 2016) of all their wines. Conclusions: 1) Incredibly high level: 93 as lowest score, many 95/96s and one 98 point wine (I rarely go so high in such broad tastings where you can't follow the wine over 5h). 2) Main reasons: weightless structure (not many Napa wines achieve that level), very elegant, high aromatic intensity, complexity and precision, perfect ripeness. 3) "Entry-level" wines (Vaso - great in 13/16, Onda - always a bit too fat) are very good but do not have the length or elegance (Onda) of the big 3, which each have a distinctive profile: Helms is probably the most purely perfumed (but overall a tad behind the others), Lotus is the most hedonistic and dense wine, Hershey the most complex, intellectual wine. 4) Wine of the Night? Probably the Lotus 2014. But others might likely surpass it one day (Hershey 13/16, Lotus 16). The 3 big wines got a 2-4 hour decant (which did good), all others PnPed.

TN: I largely skipped this wine as the evening was well advanced and I focused on the big three wines of 2016

Flight 4 (4 notes)

Red
2013 Dana Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Helms Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford
95 points
Once-in-a-lifetime tasting with winemaker Chris Cooney. We tasted the past 4 vintages (2013- 2016) of all their wines. Conclusions: 1) Incredibly high level: 93 as lowest score, many 95/96s and one 98 point wine (I rarely go so high in such broad tastings where you can't follow the wine over 5h). 2) Main reasons: weightless structure (not many Napa wines achieve that level), very elegant, high aromatic intensity, complexity and precision, perfect ripeness. 3) "Entry-level" wines (Vaso - great in 13/16, Onda - always a bit too fat) are very good but do not have the length or elegance (Onda) of the big 3, which each have a distinctive profile: Helms is probably the most purely perfumed (but overall a tad behind the others), Lotus is the most hedonistic and dense wine, Hershey the most complex, intellectual wine. 4) Wine of the Night? Probably the Lotus 2014. But others might likely surpass it one day (Hershey 13/16, Lotus 16). The 3 big wines got a 2-4 hour decant (which did good), all others PnPed.

TN: Dana’s Helms wines are marked by its pure fruit expression, are very perfumed. In terms of complexity and hedonistic pleasure a tad behind Lotus and Hershey in all vintages. All wines share, however, the very fine structure, the weightless frame hardly seen to that (consistent) degree in Napa Valley wines. No heavy bombs, no dense sweet wines. This vintage displays a potpourri of red, dark and blue fruit, earthy tones and some stoney minerality. Great today but will for sure gain additional aromatic layers with further age. Probably the best Helms tonight. 95-96+ points.
Red
2014 Dana Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Helms Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford
94 points
Once-in-a-lifetime tasting with winemaker Chris Cooney. We tasted the past 4 vintages (2013- 2016) of all their wines. Conclusions: 1) Incredibly high level: 93 as lowest score, many 95/96s and one 98 point wine (I rarely go so high in such broad tastings where you can't follow the wine over 5h). 2) Main reasons: weightless structure (not many Napa wines achieve that level), very elegant, high aromatic intensity, complexity and precision, perfect ripeness. 3) "Entry-level" wines (Vaso - great in 13/16, Onda - always a bit too fat) are very good but do not have the length or elegance (Onda) of the big 3, which each have a distinctive profile: Helms is probably the most purely perfumed (but overall a tad behind the others), Lotus is the most hedonistic and dense wine, Hershey the most complex, intellectual wine. 4) Wine of the Night? Probably the Lotus 2014. But others might likely surpass it one day (Hershey 13/16, Lotus 16). The 3 big wines got a 2-4 hour decant (which did good), all others PnPed.

TN: Dana’s Helms wines are marked by its pure fruit expression, are very perfumed. In terms of complexity and hedonistic pleasure a tad behind Lotus and Hershey in all vintages. All wines share, however, the very fine structure, the weightless frame hardly seen to that (consistent) degree in Napa Valley wines. No heavy bombs, no dense sweet wines. This vintage displayed a dense and sweet blackberries along with some red berries. The least expressive vineyard is coping less good than the other wines with the lightest vintage. Still a very good wine which will for sure crack the 95+ point category with further age. 94-95 points.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2015 Dana Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Helms Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford
95 points
Once-in-a-lifetime tasting with winemaker Chris Cooney. We tasted the past 4 vintages (2013- 2016) of all their wines. Conclusions: 1) Incredibly high level: 93 as lowest score, many 95/96s and one 98 point wine (I rarely go so high in such broad tastings where you can't follow the wine over 5h). 2) Main reasons: weightless structure (not many Napa wines achieve that level), very elegant, high aromatic intensity, complexity and precision, perfect ripeness. 3) "Entry-level" wines (Vaso - great in 13/16, Onda - always a bit too fat) are very good but do not have the length or elegance (Onda) of the big 3, which each have a distinctive profile: Helms is probably the most purely perfumed (but overall a tad behind the others), Lotus is the most hedonistic and dense wine, Hershey the most complex, intellectual wine. 4) Wine of the Night? Probably the Lotus 2014. But others might likely surpass it one day (Hershey 13/16, Lotus 16). The 3 big wines got a 2-4 hour decant (which did good), all others PnPed.

TN: Dana’s Helms wines are marked by its pure fruit expression, are very perfumed. In terms of complexity and hedonistic pleasure a tad behind Lotus and Hershey in all vintages. All wines share, however, the very fine structure, the weightless frame hardly seen to that (consistent) degree in Napa Valley wines. No heavy bombs, no dense sweet wines. In this vintage the minerality, smoke and earthy tones came more forward and built a nice counterbalance to the intense pure and sweet blackberry fruit. Surprisingly, this wine had still some tannins which were not yet perfectly integrated but that’s just a matter of time. Great today, better in a few years. 95-96 points.
Red
2016 Dana Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Helms Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford
95 points
Once-in-a-lifetime tasting with winemaker Chris Cooney. We tasted the past 4 vintages (2013- 2016) of all their wines. Conclusions: 1) Incredibly high level: 93 as lowest score, many 95/96s and one 98 point wine (I rarely go so high in such broad tastings where you can't follow the wine over 5h). 2) Main reasons: weightless structure (not many Napa wines achieve that level), very elegant, high aromatic intensity, complexity and precision, perfect ripeness. 3) "Entry-level" wines (Vaso - great in 13/16, Onda - always a bit too fat) are very good but do not have the length or elegance (Onda) of the big 3, which each have a distinctive profile: Helms is probably the most purely perfumed (but overall a tad behind the others), Lotus is the most hedonistic and dense wine, Hershey the most complex, intellectual wine. 4) Wine of the Night? Probably the Lotus 2014. But others might likely surpass it one day (Hershey 13/16, Lotus 16). The 3 big wines got a 2-4 hour decant (which did good), all others PnPed.

TN: Dana’s Helms wines are marked by its pure fruit expression, are very perfumed. In terms of complexity and hedonistic pleasure a tad behind Lotus and Hershey in all vintages. All wines share, however, the very fine structure, the weightless frame hardly seen to that (consistent) degree in Napa Valley wines. No heavy bombs, no dense sweet wines. Same as in the 2015, the tannins still show some rough edges but one can see that this will not be an issue. The quality is very high. Very cool expression with pure blue and black fruit and some minerality. Not on par with the Lotus ’16 and the Hershey ’16 which show more complex already at this young stage. Nevertheless, great! 95-96 points.

Flight 5 (4 notes)

Red
2013 Dana Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Lotus Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, St. Helena
96 points
Once-in-a-lifetime tasting with winemaker Chris Cooney. We tasted the past 4 vintages (2013- 2016) of all their wines. Conclusions: 1) Incredibly high level: 93 as lowest score, many 95/96s and one 98 point wine (I rarely go so high in such broad tastings where you can't follow the wine over 5h). 2) Main reasons: weightless structure (not many Napa wines achieve that level), very elegant, high aromatic intensity, complexity and precision, perfect ripeness. 3) "Entry-level" wines (Vaso - great in 13/16, Onda - always a bit too fat) are very good but do not have the length or elegance (Onda) of the big 3, which each have a distinctive profile: Helms is probably the most purely perfumed (but overall a tad behind the others), Lotus is the most hedonistic and dense wine, Hershey the most complex, intellectual wine. 4) Wine of the Night? Probably the Lotus 2014. But others might likely surpass it one day (Hershey 13/16, Lotus 16). The 3 big wines got a 2-4 hour decant (which did good), all others PnPed.

TN: Dana’s Lotus wines are the most outgoing, hedonistic and seductive wines of the three as it is the hottest of their vineyards. In the hands of such a gifted winemaker and team this leads to wonderful wines with the same very fine structure and the weightless frame hardly seen to that (consistent) degree in Napa Valley wines. Perfect ripeness, always marked by precision. This vintage displays a lot of cool sweet dark forest fruit, sweet blackberries, earthy tones, wet stone minerality and some minty notes. A tad more opulent than the others but with a lot of complex aromas. Just great and it will get better. 96-97 points
Red
2014 Dana Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Lotus Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, St. Helena
98 points
Once-in-a-lifetime tasting with winemaker Chris Cooney. We tasted the past 4 vintages (2013- 2016) of all their wines. Conclusions: 1) Incredibly high level: 93 as lowest score, many 95/96s and one 98 point wine (I rarely go so high in such broad tastings where you can't follow the wine over 5h). 2) Main reasons: weightless structure (not many Napa wines achieve that level), very elegant, high aromatic intensity, complexity and precision, perfect ripeness. 3) "Entry-level" wines (Vaso - great in 13/16, Onda - always a bit too fat) are very good but do not have the length or elegance (Onda) of the big 3, which each have a distinctive profile: Helms is probably the most purely perfumed (but overall a tad behind the others), Lotus is the most hedonistic and dense wine, Hershey the most complex, intellectual wine. 4) Wine of the Night? Probably the Lotus 2014. But others might likely surpass it one day (Hershey 13/16, Lotus 16). The 3 big wines got a 2-4 hour decant (which did good), all others PnPed.

TN: Dana’s Lotus wines are the most outgoing, hedonistic and seductive wines of the three as it is the hottest of their vineyards. In the hands of such a gifted winemaker and team this leads to wonderful wines with the same very fine structure and the weightless frame hardly seen to that (consistent) degree in Napa Valley wines. Perfect ripeness, always marked by precision. In this generally lighter vintage this Lotus shines bright. For me the WOTN with layer after layer of black, red and blue fruit, herbal notes, gravelly minerality. The most intellectual fruit aroma complex all night. And all that packed in the before-mentioned great structure with an incredible length. I guess that my score would be even higher if I would have been able to follow the wine over several hours. 98-99 points.
Red
2015 Dana Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Lotus Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, St. Helena
94 points
Once-in-a-lifetime tasting with winemaker Chris Cooney. We tasted the past 4 vintages (2013- 2016) of all their wines. Conclusions: 1) Incredibly high level: 93 as lowest score, many 95/96s and one 98 point wine (I rarely go so high in such broad tastings where you can't follow the wine over 5h). 2) Main reasons: weightless structure (not many Napa wines achieve that level), very elegant, high aromatic intensity, complexity and precision, perfect ripeness. 3) "Entry-level" wines (Vaso - great in 13/16, Onda - always a bit too fat) are very good but do not have the length or elegance (Onda) of the big 3, which each have a distinctive profile: Helms is probably the most purely perfumed (but overall a tad behind the others), Lotus is the most hedonistic and dense wine, Hershey the most complex, intellectual wine. 4) Wine of the Night? Probably the Lotus 2014. But others might likely surpass it one day (Hershey 13/16, Lotus 16). The 3 big wines got a 2-4 hour decant (which did good), all others PnPed.

TN: Dana’s Lotus wines are the most outgoing, hedonistic and seductive wines of the three as it is the hottest of their vineyards. In the hands of such a gifted winemaker and team this leads to wonderful wines with the same very fine structure and the weightless frame hardly seen to that (consistent) degree in Napa Valley wines. Perfect ripeness, always marked by precision. For me one of the weakest wines of the big three that night but still a very good wine. The mix of the hottest vineyard and the hot and dry vintage produced for sure the most opulent wine of the night which is prefer less to cooler vintages without prolonged heat spikes. Lots of pure black fruit, herbs and some minerality. Good structure, balance and length. 94-95+ points.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2016 Dana Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Lotus Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, St. Helena
97 points
Once-in-a-lifetime tasting with winemaker Chris Cooney. We tasted the past 4 vintages (2013- 2016) of all their wines. Conclusions: 1) Incredibly high level: 93 as lowest score, many 95/96s and one 98 point wine (I rarely go so high in such broad tastings where you can't follow the wine over 5h). 2) Main reasons: weightless structure (not many Napa wines achieve that level), very elegant, high aromatic intensity, complexity and precision, perfect ripeness. 3) "Entry-level" wines (Vaso - great in 13/16, Onda - always a bit too fat) are very good but do not have the length or elegance (Onda) of the big 3, which each have a distinctive profile: Helms is probably the most purely perfumed (but overall a tad behind the others), Lotus is the most hedonistic and dense wine, Hershey the most complex, intellectual wine. 4) Wine of the Night? Probably the Lotus 2014. But others might likely surpass it one day (Hershey 13/16, Lotus 16). The 3 big wines got a 2-4 hour decant (which did good), all others PnPed.

TN: Dana’s Lotus wines are the most outgoing, hedonistic and seductive wines of the three as it is the hottest of their vineyards. In the hands of such a gifted winemaker and team this leads to wonderful wines with the same very fine structure and the weightless frame hardly seen to that (consistent) degree in Napa Valley wines. Perfect ripeness, always marked by precision. Close second for the best Lotus this 2016 is marked by the cool blue and black fruit expression full of various forest berries. So clean and fresh with a well-delineated underlying minerality. Not yet up there with the 2014 but will gain complexity and will likely surpass the 2014 in a few years. 97-98 points.

Flight 6 (4 notes)

Red
2013 Dana Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Hershey Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain
96 points
Once-in-a-lifetime tasting with winemaker Chris Cooney. We tasted the past 4 vintages (2013- 2016) of all their wines. Conclusions: 1) Incredibly high level: 93 as lowest score, many 95/96s and one 98 point wine (I rarely go so high in such broad tastings where you can't follow the wine over 5h). 2) Main reasons: weightless structure (not many Napa wines achieve that level), very elegant, high aromatic intensity, complexity and precision, perfect ripeness. 3) "Entry-level" wines (Vaso - great in 13/16, Onda - always a bit too fat) are very good but do not have the length or elegance (Onda) of the big 3, which each have a distinctive profile: Helms is probably the most purely perfumed (but overall a tad behind the others), Lotus is the most hedonistic and dense wine, Hershey the most complex, intellectual wine. 4) Wine of the Night? Probably the Lotus 2014. But others might likely surpass it one day (Hershey 13/16, Lotus 16). The 3 big wines got a 2-4 hour decant (which did good), all others PnPed.

TN: Dana’s Hershey wines are the most complex and intellectual wines of the three marked by the elegance and weightlessness, the subtle aroma delivery, the perfect balance like no other wine in the lineup. These wines are soft like the finest Bordeauxs but they’re not Bordeaux in style but still distinctively Napa. This is certainly one of the finest wines Napa Valley has to offer if you’re looking for more than just sexy sweet Napa monsters. As all Hershey wines this 2013 is infused with a complex, multi-layered minerality component with liquid rocks, wet earth, various herbs, some stems along the very well balanced, fresh and elegant dark fruit component. Very deep, long, balanced, fresh and weightless. Amazing and with more upside. 96-97+ points.
Red
2014 Dana Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Hershey Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain
96 points
Once-in-a-lifetime tasting with winemaker Chris Cooney. We tasted the past 4 vintages (2013- 2016) of all their wines. Conclusions: 1) Incredibly high level: 93 as lowest score, many 95/96s and one 98 point wine (I rarely go so high in such broad tastings where you can't follow the wine over 5h). 2) Main reasons: weightless structure (not many Napa wines achieve that level), very elegant, high aromatic intensity, complexity and precision, perfect ripeness. 3) "Entry-level" wines (Vaso - great in 13/16, Onda - always a bit too fat) are very good but do not have the length or elegance (Onda) of the big 3, which each have a distinctive profile: Helms is probably the most purely perfumed (but overall a tad behind the others), Lotus is the most hedonistic and dense wine, Hershey the most complex, intellectual wine. 4) Wine of the Night? Probably the Lotus 2014. But others might likely surpass it one day (Hershey 13/16, Lotus 16). The 3 big wines got a 2-4 hour decant (which did good), all others PnPed.

TN: Dana’s Hershey wines are the most complex and intellectual wines of the three marked by the elegance and weightlessness, the subtle aroma delivery, the perfect balance like no other wine in the lineup. These wines are soft like the finest Bordeauxs but they’re not Bordeaux in style but still distinctively Napa. This is certainly one of the finest wines Napa Valley has to offer if you’re looking for more than just sexy sweet Napa monsters. Again this complex, multi-layered minerality component with liquid rocks, wet earth, various herbs, some stems along the very well balanced, fresh and elegant dark fruit component. Very deep, long, balanced, fresh and weightless. While the 2013 and 2016 have clearly more upside this seems to be in a perfect spot today. 96 to 97 points.
Red
2015 Dana Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Hershey Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain
95 points
Once-in-a-lifetime tasting with winemaker Chris Cooney. We tasted the past 4 vintages (2013- 2016) of all their wines. Conclusions: 1) Incredibly high level: 93 as lowest score, many 95/96s and one 98 point wine (I rarely go so high in such broad tastings where you can't follow the wine over 5h). 2) Main reasons: weightless structure (not many Napa wines achieve that level), very elegant, high aromatic intensity, complexity and precision, perfect ripeness. 3) "Entry-level" wines (Vaso - great in 13/16, Onda - always a bit too fat) are very good but do not have the length or elegance (Onda) of the big 3, which each have a distinctive profile: Helms is probably the most purely perfumed (but overall a tad behind the others), Lotus is the most hedonistic and dense wine, Hershey the most complex, intellectual wine. 4) Wine of the Night? Probably the Lotus 2014. But others might likely surpass it one day (Hershey 13/16, Lotus 16). The 3 big wines got a 2-4 hour decant (which did good), all others PnPed.

TN: Dana’s Hershey wines are the most complex and intellectual wines of the three marked by the elegance and weightlessness, the subtle aroma delivery, the perfect balance like no other wine in the lineup. These wines are soft like the finest Bordeauxs but they’re not Bordeaux in style but still distinctively Napa. This is certainly one of the finest wines Napa Valley has to offer if you’re looking for more than just sexy sweet Napa monsters. This is the best 2015 in the lineup. This cool sites produces an intellectual wine even in a hot and dry vintage where other wines show fat and opulence. Again a lot of minerality, earth and herbs, with sweet red and dark fruit, a nice nutty component with roasted almonds. Long, balanced and fine. Amazing. 95 to 96 points today but with upside for more!
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2016 Dana Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Hershey Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain
97 points
Once-in-a-lifetime tasting with winemaker Chris Cooney. We tasted the past 4 vintages (2013- 2016) of all their wines. Conclusions: 1) Incredibly high level: 93 as lowest score, many 95/96s and one 98 point wine (I rarely go so high in such broad tastings where you can't follow the wine over 5h). 2) Main reasons: weightless structure (not many Napa wines achieve that level), very elegant, high aromatic intensity, complexity and precision, perfect ripeness. 3) "Entry-level" wines (Vaso - great in 13/16, Onda - always a bit too fat) are very good but do not have the length or elegance (Onda) of the big 3, which each have a distinctive profile: Helms is probably the most purely perfumed (but overall a tad behind the others), Lotus is the most hedonistic and dense wine, Hershey the most complex, intellectual wine. 4) Wine of the Night? Probably the Lotus 2014. But others might likely surpass it one day (Hershey 13/16, Lotus 16). The 3 big wines got a 2-4 hour decant (which did good), all others PnPed.

TN: Dana’s Hershey wines are the most complex and intellectual wines of the three marked by the elegance and weightlessness, the subtle aroma delivery, the perfect balance like no other wine in the lineup. These wines are soft like the finest Bordeauxs but they’re not Bordeaux in style but still distinctively Napa. This is certainly one of the finest wines Napa Valley has to offer if you’re looking for more than just sexy sweet Napa monsters. At the end of a long evening with more than 20 wines comes this beauty which again shines with its so well balanced bouquet with its multi-layered minerality, earth and herbal notes along blue, black and red fruit. So much going on, so complex and intense with absolutely no weight whatsoever. I guess, if I would had this at the beginning of the night, with a fresh palate and with more time to follow, I would have rated it 98-100 points.
1 person found this helpful Comment
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