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Out of the three Dana Estate owned vineyards, the Lotus vineyard located on St. Helena hillsides, stands at 1200 feet above sea level with a beautiful panoramic view of the Napa Valley floor.
This steep hillside vineyard is spread over the rocky, low-yielding soils with Western exposure. Thanks to the influence of the afternoon sun, the wines shows ripe and rich fruitiness while the three to twelve inches, fractured grey bedrock soil generates the marked mineral structure to the wine.
“This is incredibly dry, well-drained soil that has very low water holding capacity and in dry, warm vintages it reflects outstanding a level of grape ripeness,” Vawter sums up.
Lotus Vineyard embodies our philosophy of minimal intervention in the vineyard. The steep rocky hillside forces the site to be 100% hand farmed. The rocky volcanic soils force the vines to look deep for water, nutrients, and minerals. The results are balanced vines that produced very low yields of small intensely flavored berries with thick, darkly colored skins. We began harvest October 9th with clone 15 in the southern part of the vineyard. We followed up picking the clone 4 five days later and finished October 15th with the north facing part of the clone 337 block. The wines were fermented with native yeast and macerated on skins for 25-34 days. The tannin and color required a more maceration time in 2018 to fully extract; therefore, we had to work a bit harder with more pump-overs and punch-downs to realize the full potential of the vintage. The wine was then taken off the skins and put directly into barrels. The wines were blended the spring after harvest, then left to age without racking until bottling.
The 2018 Lotus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon expresses heady aromas of fresh blackberry, currant, graphite, and a hint of orange peel. Flavors of plums and summer blackberries mingle with sweet spices and cacao weave into the silky tannin canvas. The wine captures the essence of the vintage with its creamy texture, concentrated fruit which are balanced with and energetic backbone and savory saline finish. Enjoy 2022 through 2040 and beyond.
The season started off with a dry January and February making us uneasy after the drought years of 2013-2016. However, March and April brought ample rainfall to fill the soil reservoir giving the vine ample access to soil nutrients. The later rains delayed budbreak a few weeks with the growing season starting in the first couple weeks in April. Mild temperatures in April and May brought steady canopy growth through bloom at the beginning of June. The perfect weather during set in addition to the wet 2017 winter set the vines up for a larger than average crop. A hot July helped shift the vines from shoot growth to berry ripening mode. The rest of the season was mild with only a few hot days, perfect weather for developing color and flavor while moderating sugar levels at peak ripeness. The 2018 wines express dense color, polished tannins, and an almost perfect balance of fruit and acidity.