This has the makings of a great classic from Napa Valley. There is lots of structure as well as deep, concentrated, rich fruit, a heady perfume of black currants, licorice, spring flowers and toasty oak, a full-bodied, powerful, well-delineated style, and terrific purity as well as aging potential. Still young and tightly wound, but loaded, this 2010 will benefit from a few years of bottle age, and should keep for 20+ years. Kudos to Vine Hill Ranch. Rating: 94+
The estate’s 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon literally bursts from the glass with juicy dark cherries, mint, spices, orange rind, tobacco and dried herbs. Like so many wines of the vintage, the 2010 is bright, focused and very tightly wound. It will require considerable patience, but is shaping up to be a jewel of a wine. The 2010 brings together the fruit density and darkness of the 2008 with the textural refinement of the 2009, a pretty terrific combination in my book. The 2010 has shut down quite a bit since I first tasted it this spring, and is probably best left alone for at least another two years. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2030.
I can’t say enough about the work the Phillips family has done with the first four vintages of Vine Hill Ranch. As Wine Advocate readers may remember from last year, the Phillips family has supplied some of the Napa Valley’s finest estates with fruit for generations, but only began making their own wines with the 2008 vintage. An all-star team led by winemaker Francoise Peschon and viticulturist Mike Wolff look after every aspect of the wines with meticulous care. Although hardly a ‘new’ property, Vine Hill Ranch gets my vote as the single most exciting emerging winery in Napa Valley. Rating: 96+