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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.
This gently sloping site is relatively cool, and is protected from the intensity of the late afternoon heat during the height of the growing season. The gravelly loam soils provide excellent drainage and wonderful fruit purity. Helms Vineyard Cabernet displays the classic profile of the Rutherford Bench: dark fruit, richly layered with a touch of spice and earth. The finely grained “dusty” tannins so prevalent in the appellation are integrated and harmonious, producing a wine of sophistication and depth.
Dana's commitment to converting our vineyards to dry-farming continues to show positive results. Dry farming encourages the roots to dig deep for water, and increases their ability to with stand heat events. As a result the vines produce wines that are more vibrant and representative of the terroir. The even temperatures over the summer and fall ripened the vineyard evenly, allowing the team to harvest all of Helms in only two days. They started with the clone 337 on October 9th. The SEE clone in front of the winery was picked the next day on October 10th. Both picks were fermented in upright oak tanks. The fruit was macerated for 35 days. After native yeast fermentation the wines were pressed directly to barrel, where native malolactic fermentation took place.