May 24, 2021 - This is exceptional 2nd from Dana Estates! Decanted for 3 hours before enjoying this beauty
March 16, 2020 - Quick one hour decant and drank at essentially just above cellar temp. Closed and muted on both the nose and palate. Still structured with nice acidity and sine cool darker fruits emerging. Just needs more time in the bottle or better prep to open.
February 23, 2020 - Tasting with Jae at the winery. The wine was majority taken from the Crystal Springs vineyard which was next to Lotus and at a slight angle which shaded it from the afternoon sun. This is a big winery and needs decanting as others have mentioned. Aromas of violets, florals, crunchy dark berries, forest floor, moss and espresso. The palate was a lot more savoury compared to the VASO along with being more earthy and full-bodied. This is deep, dark and broody, the tannins were more muscular and present yet there was richness and creaminess to the palate which allowed for enjoyment even at this early stage. The finish was rich and very long. Open in around 8 years then enjoy over the next 15 or so.
August 2, 2019 - Deep purplish ruby red. Rich and dark nose coated in cinnamon, nutmeg, gravel and dark berries. Heavy tannins (8/10) and full bodied. Tight palate with tons of potential. Lots of purple flowers, sweet spices, blackberries, cassis, minerality and tight acidity. Long and lingering finish. A touch gritty in the mouthfeel. Drink till 2035.
July 11, 2019 - Had this at Mustard's in Napa. Pnp.....which was a big mistake. This wine needed a solid 12 to 24 hour full on decant. Nothing really spectacular or interesting on the nose. However, the palate was rough. This bottle was not corked or flawed in any way. It was just completely disjointed. Perhaps it was just in a bad place. But for what ever the reason, I and my dinner associates found this wine almost unbearable. Totally out of balance with very high alcohol and astringent tannins. It only rounded out when sipping with a bit of fatty food in the mouth. It's a HUGE wine. One that will probably evolve into something pretty amazing in 10 to 15 years. But no where near ready for prime time at this stage. It's like a punch in the face. Even after slow oxing the remaining half of the bottle and drinking it the next day had no affect. I'm at a loss with regard to the scores this wine garnered (which is the main reason we made the purchase), but all six of us agreed that this wine/bottle was not a very pleasant experience. If you have this wine, my recommendation is HOLD, HOLD, HOLD!
June 17, 2019 - Dana Estates 2013-2016: 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.
June 13, 2019 - Dana estate vertical and horizontal 2013-16 (Restaurant Löwen, Meilen): Dana Estates vertical / horizontal – I am trying to coin "vertizontal" – with 22 wines in Zurich. The line-up included all vintages 2013-16 for all estates (including Vaso) and two vintages of the Sauvignon Blanc. The consistency I encountered here was amazing. Powerful yet elegant and light on the palate is a description that worked for almost all vintages and estates (including the Vaso). Of these vintages the 2016 stood out as exceptional, but I was also quite fond of the (controversial) 2013. In terms of estates Lotus and Hershey are playing in a league of their own. The "budget" Vaso is punching on par with Onda and Helms and hence offers great value for money. See the tasting story for more background and winemaker comments.
Brambleberry and raspberry, lots of minerality with ash and maybe even coal. Fresh and creamy palate but if put on a scale probably not entirely balanced.
May 7, 2019 - Wine Warehouse Spring Tasting, nose of rich black cherry, black berry, plum, and boysenberry, same on the palate, big body, intensely concentrated, needs 5 years to peak, very tasty, lovely fruit, rich fruit, massive wine but shows great potential, and a long, long, flavorful finish.
December 29, 2018 - Very well balanced, floral nose, with a plum and tannic finish. Drank well from start to finish over 2.5 hours.