Saturated medium ruby. Inviting, musky aromas of blackberry, cassis, espresso and graphite minerality. At once dense and juicy, displaying superb clarity of flavor and sexy spicy complexity to its dark berry, aromatic herb and licorice flavors. Very suave, fine-grained and subtly long, with the smooth tannins arriving late and saturating the palate without obscuring the wine's mineral lift. This classically dry Cabernet is fully ripe and harmonious now but has significant further aging potential. I liked this wine at the outset but it's even better today, offering impeccable balance and a solid structural underpinning. 94 pts.
Over the years I have been fortunate to taste many, many California Cabernets, and there have been many that are truly excellent, but it is rare (like not in the last 12 years) that one crosses my path where the only way I can describe it is ‘extraordinary’!
Vine Hill Ranch has just released its first ever estate Cabernet Sauvignon. The property is located in the southern corner of the Oakville appellation. Bob and Alex Phillips began cultivating fine winegrapes here in 1959 and with the founding of Phillips Family Farming. Vine Hill Ranch continues to produce exceptional fruit for a collection of premier Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon vintners. Their vineyard is divided into 7 blocks, and each is picked, vinified, and aged separately. The blocks are then selected and blended for the finished wine. The label indicates which blocks were used and gives their date of harvest, as well as other technical information. Only 300 cases were produced.
Extraordinary wines usually come with a hefty price, and this wine is no exception ($150 a bottle), but I compare the wine to other Napa Cabernets that sell for 2 to 3 times the price, and I like this one more! This is a world-class Napa Cabernet that is delicious now, but should be put in the cellar next to the great Bordeaux. If you are looking for that “extraordinary” gift this year, don’t overlook the 2008 Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon. Needless to say, supply is very limited!