Proprietors Bruce and Heather Phillips, along with the team headed by viticulturist Mike Wolf and winemaker Françoise Peschon are making world-class wine at Vine Hill Ranch. The most impressive thing about Vine Hill Ranch is not the 2015 nor the 2016, but the lots I tasted on my most recent visit that have been excluded from the 2016 blend. The unused lots, some of which are better than the 2016s at many other estates, show the total commitment to quality that is at the heart of Vine Hill Ranch. I can still remember tasting the debut 2008 years ago. That wine was compelling. Since then, Vine Hill Ranch has gone on to even greater heights. Readers should do whatever they can to taste these magical Cabernets.
The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon is gorgeous. Above all else, I am impressed with how much freshness the 2015 shows. Racy red cherry, plum, rose petal and lavender notes fill out the wine’s sumptuous frame. Bottled just a few months ago, the 2015 is a bit reticent, but it is nevertheless impressive. Time in the glass brings out the wine’s natural radiance. 96+ pts.
Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon open with cedar notions over a cassis, warm blackberries and black cherries core with hints of spice box, garrigue and bay leaves. Full bodied, firm and grainy with nice vibrant fruit expression, it has lots of oak at this youthful but that should marry nicely with a further 3-4 years in bottle. 94+ pts.
The 2015 is a totally sumptuous, head-turning wine with almost unnatural richness and intensity. A burst of dark red and bluish fruit makes a strong opening statement. Some of the more savory and floral notes that are typical of Vine Hill Ranch appear with time in the glass, but the 2015 is above all else a wine of sumptuous texture and sensuality. 94–97 pts.