2012 Dana Estates "Helms Vineyard" Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon (1.5L) (Previously $1250)

SKU #1336637 99 points James Suckling

 Extraordinary aromas of metal shavings, black currants and hazelnuts. Turns to roses and violets. Full-bodied, yet subtle and refined with a polished piercing tannin backbone. This makes you want to drink it. Sexy and elegant. A triumph. Try in 2019 but hard not to drink now.  (11/2015)

96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Deep garnet-purple, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Helms Vineyard sings of crushed blackberries, cassis and black cherries with touches of Provence herbs, violets and chocolate box plus a hint of dusty earth. Medium-bodied with a firm backbone of grainy tannins and a racy acid line, it has youthful, taut, muscular black fruit and a long, refreshing finish. Should age beautifully! (LPB)  (12/2017)

96 points Vinous

 Dana's 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Helms Vineyard possesses remarkable structure and density, especially within the context of the year. Firm yet well-integrated tannins give the wine much of its energy, tension and focus. Black cherry jam, graphite, smoke and tobacco add nuance as the wine opens up in the glass. Far from an easygoing 2012, the Helms is going to need time to fully come together. There is so much to look forward to here. This is the first vintage since 2008 that was vinified in wood uprights, as was originally intended. The intervening vintages have been much shorter, so they were done in barrel. The 2012 impresses for its balance of fruit, acidity and tannin. (AG)  (12/2014)

94 points Wine Spectator

 Dense and pleasantly earthy, with an edge of loamy earth and crushed rock minerality cutting through the core of currant, blackberry and mocha before the dense, earthy tannins fold in. The finish is long and engaging. Drink now through 2030. (JL)  (10/2015)

K&L Notes

A previous 96-point Wine Advocate review from Robert Parker: "The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Helms Vineyard, which is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Rutherford AVA, has a dense black cherry and blackcurrant-scented nose with graphite and forest floor notes, beautiful purity, full-bodied mouthfeel and super-richness and power, but elegant and complex. This is classic Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon and should age beautifully for 20-25 years." (RP)

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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.