2011 Dana Estates "Hershey Vineyard" Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon (Previously $300)

SKU #1194630 97 points James Suckling

 Amazing aromas of blackberries, blueberries, mushrooms and violets. Full body with a dense, precise palate and a firm, intense finish. Masculine but formed and polished. This needs at least four or five years to come even more together.  (5/2014)

97 points Vinous

 Graphite, crushed rocks, smoke, melted road tar, black fruit and incense explode from the glass in the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Hershey Vineyard. A huge, structured wine, the 2011 boasts stunning depth, power and richness. The intense salinity of the vintage and the trademark Dana intensity of fruit meld together in a Cabernet of true distinction. What a gorgeous wine this is. This is the first vintage to incorporate more than the original first acre of plantings. The first vintages were pure clone 1 Cabernet, while subsequent vintages include See clone fruit as well. The 2011 was fermented in barrel and spent 21 months in oak, 100% new. (AG)  (11/2013)

93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Red-ruby color, the darkest of these 2011s. Dark berries, coffee and licorice on the nose, with a sexy animal character adding interest. Less sweet than the Lotus but with noteworthy finesse of texture to the flavors of blue fruits, menthol and dark spices. Very pure and laid-back today, finishing with sneaky length. The tannins seem much more successfully integrated with the wine's fruit than they appeared to be in barrel a year ago. Winemaker Cameron Vawter noted that the 2011s were racked only after the malolactic fermentations and again for the blending. (ST)  (5/2014)

90-92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The fruit for the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Hershey Vineyard was picked on November 2, and it is certainly one of the stars of the vintage, reflecting the success Howell Mountain enjoyed in this vintage. It possesses excellent ripeness along with mulberry, blueberry and black raspberry fruit intermixed with hints of wet rock and graphite. Ripe, lush and medium to full-bodied with sweet tannin, this beauty, because of the precociousness and forward character of the 2011s, is best consumed over the next 10-12 years. (RP)  (10/2013)

90 points Wine Spectator

 A rich, powerful expression of dense loamy earth, tobacco, black licorice, mineral and dark berry flavors. This never lets up, framed by persistent, gutsy tannins. Drink now through 2022. (JL)  (11/2014)

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Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.