2012 Anakota "Helena Dakota" Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2012s are the most showy and forward of the three vintages, which is not surprising, since the vintage is flamboyant and they are already three years of age. Even as impressive, but showing more truffles, charcoal, graphite and camphor, along with blackberry and cassis, is the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Helena Dakota (1,017 cases). This wine shows even more fruit than its sibling and is bigger, bolder and slightly broader across the palate. All these wine are highly recommended and are brilliant efforts, but will probably need coaxing and patience in the cellar, given their rather bigger-than-life styles and richness. The winemaker behind the Anakota high-elevation mountain vineyard sites in Knights Valley is no other than Pierre Seillan, the Bordelais guru who makes the fabulous wines of Vérité from the same proprietor, the Jackson family. There are two cuvées from various elevations in Knights Valley, the lower elevation called Helena Montana and the higher site, the Helena Dakota. Production of these cuvées ranges from the smallest in 2013, with just over 500 cases of each produced, jumping to 700-800 in 2014 and a whopping 1,000-1,300 in 2012 -the most generous of the three vintages. These are all 100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged in 100% French oak and are meant for long, long-term aging. I would suggest that these may be, potentially, the longest-lived wines being made in Knights Valley... (RP)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Bright, deep ruby. Extremely primary nose hints at cassis, espresso and bitter chocolate; this is about as evolved as a Bordeaux during the Primeurs tastings six months after the harvest. Then surprisingly plush and rich, boasting superb volume and sappy verve to the black and blueberry, coffee and mocha flavors. The balance of sweetness and acidity is exhilarating. Strong underlying minerality gives shape and lift to the ripely tannic, very long finish. Splendid potential here. I tasted both this wine and the 2012 Montana from tank. (ST)
The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Helena Dakota Vineyard has turned out beautifully. Mocha, dark cherries, plums, spices, new leather and tobacco meld together in a large-scaled, voluptuous wine built on intensity, texture and volume. This is one of the more overt Knights Valley Cabernets readers will come across. The vintage has softened some of the contours, which simply adds to the wine's considerable up-front appeal. A sweet, layered finish rounds things out in style. My sense is that the 2012 will be even better once some of the baby fat drops off, but the wine is undeniably delicious today. Pierre Seillan is best known for the wines he makes at Vérité, but the truth is his Anakota wines aren't that far behind in terms of quality. While Vérité is aimed at a very high level of consumer, Anakota, with its much friendlier pricing, delivers considerable value for the money within the realm of top-flight wines. The Helena Dakota is the more fruit-forward of the two Cabernets, while the Helena Montana will appeal more to readers who appreciate savory and mineral-inflected nuances in Cabernet. Interestingly, Sellian describes Helena Montana as the warmer and earlier-ripening of these two sites. The 2012s are voluptuous and racy - very much in the style of the year - with plenty of immediate appeal. The 2013s, on the other hand, are vibrant, pulsating Cabernets that will require at least a few years to blossom. As always, Pierre Seillan crafts bold, ripe Cabernets built on opulence.