A slightly higher production of 775 cases was made with the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a prodigious Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, with notes of creosote, camphor and burning embers, which give it an almost Graves-like character, but then the rich, creamy, pure blackberry and cassis fruit kick in. The wine has fabulous intensity, a multi-layered, dense, full-bodied texture and terrific finish. The tannins are slightly more dominant than in the 2012, but they offer sweetness and creaminess as opposed to any astringency or harshness, This is a modern-day classic from Vine Hill Ranch and probably the finest wine they have ever made. Drink it over the next 30+ years.
Vine Hill Ranch has a brilliant team working on the vineyard, with Mike Wolf as their viticultural manager, and former Araujo winemaker and co-owner of the small boutique label Drinkward Peschon, Françoise Peschon, as their winemaker. These are the best wines I have ever tasted from this relatively large, 70-acre vineyard in Oakville. Both vintages of Cabernet Sauvignon are 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, aged in 75% new French oak for 20 or so months. 96+ Points Drink: 2015–2045
Majestic and towering in personality, the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the truly great wines of a great vintage. The flavors are bold, intense and driving, with huge swaths of tannins and layers of pulsating minerality in support. Graphite, leather, lavender, tobacco and spices wrap around the virile, imposing finish. A wine of vertical structure and stunning detail, the 2013 is going to need the better part of the next decade to start opening up. Today, it is impressive, but it will be even better in a few years’ time. 98 pts. Drinking window: 2023–2038
These are two gorgeous Cabernets from Vine Hill Ranch, which continues to cement its place in Napa Valley's top echelon. The Phillips family, along with vineyard guru Mike Wolf and winemaker Françoise Peschon, make a formidable team. The Vine Hill Ranch Cabernets are distinguished by great balance, mid-weight structure and tremendous energy. As good as the wines can be in open vintages such as 2009 or 2012, the Vine Hill Ranch Cabernets need at least a few years in bottle to blossom and give every impression of being age worthy. Stylistically, the wines are perhaps just a touch more restrained than the wines Peschon made at Araujo Estate. Classicists take note: Vine Hill Ranch is one of the very best and most pedigreed wines in Napa Valley….
The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon is quite a bit darker and more virile than the 2012. Graphite, pencil shavings and a host of mineral-inflected nuances meld into a core of black fruit as this striking, crystalline Cabernet shows off its pedigree. Violets, lavender and a host of spice overtones add nuance over time, yet the 2013 is mostly a vertical wine built on spine of tannin that supports an intriguing interplay of dark fruit and vibrant, pulsating acidity. Winemaker Françoise Peschon adds that extractions were very easy in 2013, while vintages such as 2010 and 2014 required more work. (95-97+) pts. Drinking window: 2020–2043 Tasting date: October 2014