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Anakota Wines Helena Dakota Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon.
Helena Dakota is defined by its power, structure and sophistication. It is an intricate Cabernet Sauvignon that reflects both the terroir of the site and the influence of the surrounding Knights Valley AVA. It possesses layers of plums, anise, cassis, leather, bay leaf and cedar. Galvanized by a streak of minerals and bold tannins. Helena Dakota is a solidly-built wine that stands the test of time.
This sloping, 12-acre vineyard runs southwest to northeast at roughly 750 feet above sea level. It features soft, reddish brown, gravelly, silt loam soils speckled with rocks. Prevailing westerly winds blow over a large pond and continue uphill parallel to the rows of vines. These cooling breezes slow the ripening process creating wines that are both powerful and balanced with red fruit flavors, notable minerality and graceful tannins. Pierre says the Cabernet from Helena Dakota remind him of Pauillac or Saint-Estèphe.
Made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Helena Dakota Vineyard was aged for 12 months in 100% new French oak. Deep garnet-purple in color, it has a profound yet slightly broody nose to begin, slowly unfurling to reveal wonderfully fragrant notes of wild blueberries, black cherries, dark chocolate and warm cassis, followed by nuances of garrigue, violets, tar and licorice plus a touch of wet stones. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has gorgeous velvety tannins and finely knit freshness supporting generous black and blue fruits, finishing very long and achingly fragrant. Wow. 1,000 cases were made.
-Wine Advocate 99 Points
The story of Anakota begins deep in the heart of Knights Valley in rural Sonoma County. Located in an ancient volcanic zone, this relatively untouched and unknown place offers incredibly unique and diverse soils with a climate perfectly suited to Bordeaux varietals.
Sourced from estate-owned vineyards, Anakota is a collection of single vineyard, single varietal, wines that personify the rustic elegance and spirit of rural Sonoma County.
Rising more than 4,000 feet above sea level, Mount St. Helena looks down on our two prized estate-owned vineyards Helena Dakota and Helena Montana which are quietly situated on the rugged flanks of the Mayacamas Mountain Range.
Knights Valley is a remote winegrowing region bridging Sonoma and Napa Counties. It’s a place where time dilates. It’s an untamed landscape defined by rugged mountains, steep hillsides, placid meadows and abundant wildlife. Even though this AVA has produced some of the world’s greatest wines, it is still a mystery to most. Set along the flanks and foothills of Mount St. Helena and the Mayacamas Mountains, this rustic sanctuary possesses the sparse volcanic soils and cusp maritime climate needed to produce elegant, profound and age-worthy Cabernet Sauvignons.
HISTORY OF KNIGHTS VALLEY
In 1843, Knights Valley – or Mallacomes Valley as it was called back then – was a part of the 17,742-acre land grant to Jose de los Santos Berryessa. After taking possession of the property, Berryessa built an adobe lodge for his guests and used the land as a private hunting preserve. After the Mexican-American war, Thomas B. Knight, a Vermont immigrant and participant in the Bear Flag Revolt, bought 9,000 acres of Mallacomes Valley and added a second story to the lodge.
In 1858 and 1861, Calvin Holmes and his wife purchased a sizable portion of Knights Valley and erected a large Victorian house that still stands today. In 1875, real estate barons F.E. Kellogg and W.A. Stuart began developing a small resort town at the intersection of Ida Clayton Road and Highway 128. The town, which included a general store, school, homes and a hotel, burned down in the fires of 1964 and 1965.
Up until Prohibition, wine grapes were the largest agricultural crop in Knights Valley. From 1919 until the 1970s, the population declined, and the region regressed into a more bucolic state. In the mid-1970s, Knights Valley was rediscovered, and vineyards were planted by savvy winemakers looking for new sources of high-quality fruit. Today there are more than 30 growers and 2,000 acres of vines strewn throughout Knights Valley.
Back in the late 1990s, we began exploring new locations to grow Grand Cru-level Cabernet Sauvignon. Our goal was to find a site that could deliver the opulence and concentration of Napa coupled with the acidity, precision and age-worthiness of Sonoma. We found the perfect site in the Knights Valley AVA, a little-known wine region that earned AVA status in 1983. We named our ranch Anakota and in 1997 began surveying the terrain, analyzing the soils and planting vines.
Over his half-century of winemaking, Pierre has developed and refined his proprietary “micro-cru” farming/winemaking principles. Based on experience, observation, experimentation and intuition, this system considers that every vineyard is an intricate patchwork of soils, microclimates, exposures and elevations. Rather than treat each site as a single entity, Pierre divides each property into small blocks and sub-blocks. These vineyards-within-vineyards – often as small as one acre – are designed to mirror the subtle changes in the soils, terrain and microclimates. These micro-crus are farmed individually to ensure uniformly ripe grapes that bear the message of the soil. Each micro-cru is harvested and vinified separately. Two wines vinified from identical clones and rootstocks, but originating in radically different micro-crus, will produce radically different wines.
Alejandro Bulgheroni Lithology Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 99% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Cabernet Franc.
Here the Cabernet comes to us typically flawless, and the wines are as such. There is blue fruit, blueberries, black plums, blackberries, and cassis to the aromas, as well as stones, mineral, chocolate, fresh tobacco, and subtle herbs. It is incredibly full-bodied, but at the same time effortlessly drinkable, with ultra-smooth tannins and a positive, long, upturned finish. 70-75% new French oak is the norm for us with Dr. Crane, and those flavors are absorbed to become a vanillin complexity, sweetness, and length. An unbelievable wine.
Possibly the wine of the vintage, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Lithology Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard is another incredible wine from this estate that has everything: stunning complexity, full-bodied richness, flawless balance, and incredible length. Revealing a dense purple color as well as Graves-like notes of blackcurrants, cold fireplace, graphite, chocolate, and smoked tobacco, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, flawless balance, and ultra-fine tannins. Based on 99% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Cabernet Franc that was brought up 20 months in 70% new French oak, this thrilling 2018 offers pleasure today yet will evolve for 30-40+ years. Hats off to the team at Alejandro Bulgheroni!
-Jeb Dunnuck 100 Points
Alejandro Bulgheroni Lithology Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon.
Alejandro Bulgheroni Estate Lithology is a series of single vineyard and AVA-designated wines made from select sites within Napa Valley. Lithology Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard is produced solely from fruit grown in the historic Beckstoffer to Kalon Vineyard planted in 1865 by W.H. Crabb and represents Oakville's famous bench land.
Pure perfection, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Lithology Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard is a nuclear fruit bomb of a wine, offering massive richness and depth while being as graceful as a ballerina, with no sensation of weight or heaviness. Classic To Kalon crème de cassis, black raspberries, flowery incense, spice, and tobacco notes all define the bouquet, and it’s full-bodied, with a layered, multi-dimensional texture, ultra-fine tannins, and a great finish. It has another 2-3 decades of prime drinking ahead of it. This cuvée is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, sourced from four blocks in To Kalon, aged 20 months in 82% new French oak.
-Jeb Dunnuck 100 Points
The original thought was to be a one wine brand, with a single minded vision to produce the best value-priced Cabernet Sauvignon in America. How do you go about this? Traditional winemaking. Natural fermentations. Barrel-aging. Plus, bottling unfiltered and unfined. In essence, making the wines in small batch winemaking integrity, but doing so on a larger scale. The wine is black. The label definitively says, "This is Cabernet Sauvignon." With the CS, you know who made this wine: Charles Smith. There is also the single vineyard, single expression, Bordeaux varietals (ex: Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot) produced in very limited quantities. Let's not to forget, the single vineyard Loire-style Substance Sauvignon Blanc. This is the newest chapter in the history books of Charles Smith and his wines.
The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Powerline Vineyard (which is all from Clone 2) is a brilliant, brilliant wine that’s loaded with ripe red, black, and blue fruit as well as notions of green herbs, tobacco, chocolate, and even hints of spiced meat. Complex and medium to full-bodied, with good acidity and a balanced, seamless mouthfeel, it’s already hard to resist yet is going to cruise of 15+ years in cold cellars. -Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points
It is hard to imagine with the Lithology range receiving 298 points out of 300 for the three single-vineyard wines, that there could possibly be a wine above them. But there is, and it is our Estate wine. Blended several times very intently by masters of their craft Philippe Melka and Michel Rolland, this is the ultimate expression of our house’s work. Positive, full-bodied, and quite powerful, there’s the expected crème de cassis and blackberry from St. Helena Cabernets, with mineral, herb, subtle tobacco and vanilla, plum skins, and pie crust, purple flowers, forest-conifer notes, and very fine tannic structure. It is a magnificent, and magnificently elegant expression of this house, and when asked recently, Monsieur Rolland stated plainly to me, “oh yes indeed – this is the best one, the best yet…”
The flagship 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Alejandro Bulgheroni comes from a selection made by winemakers Philippe Melka and Michel Rolland, mostly from Rutherford and Oakville fruit. Aged 20 months in 78% new French oak, it has incredible aromatics of black and blue fruits, spring flowers, and graphite to go with a massive, full-bodied, concentrated style on the palate that somehow stays graceful, weightless, and elegant. This tour de force in Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is guaranteed to put a smile on your face over the coming 20-25+ years.
-Jeb Dunnuck 99 Points
Alejandro Bulgheroni Lithology Beckstoffer Las Piedras Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon.
From a St. Helena vineyard planted by early Napa settler Edward Bale more than 150 years ago, and later serving as the estate vineyard for the area’s first winery built by Henry Pellet in 1860, the Las Piedras site always gives us our prettiest wine. When placed next to Dr. Crane and To-Kalon wines, the Las Piedras show a certain elegance, with a very graceful entry and finely detailed complexity. We produce it with at least 75% new French oak, so there is a floral, spicy, and vanilla accent to the intense red and black fruits, cassis, and black cherry liqueur. What distinguishes this bottling is the beautifully fine tannins, delicate texture, and stunning purity. (Less than 100 cases made.)
Fermentation 70% Oak, 24% Concrete, 6% Puncheon
"The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Lithology Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard comes from a world-class site outside of St. Helena and is all Cabernet that spent 20 months in 80% new oak. It offers a touch more red fruit as well ample cassis, spring flowers, loamy earth, and spice-like aromas and flavors. It has a wonderful sense of minerality, ultra-fine tannins, a dense, layered texture, and incredibly purity of fruit. It’s another just about off the charts release from this estate."
- Jeb Dunnuck 98 Points
Blind Justice Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 76% Cabernet Sauvignon and 24% Cabernet Franc.
Blind Justice is a pure expression of Napa Cabernet exclusively from Beckstoffer’s ‘To-Kalon’ vineyard. The true heart of the famed Oakville appellation, this vineyard highlights the decadent essence of Napa Cabernet to perfection, with vines rooted in loamy alluvial soil that adds depth, nuance, and structure. An absolute stunner, and the flagship of the Justice offerings, this is the wine that epitomizes the adventurous and pioneering soul of the Napa Valley.
Baking spices like clove and cocoa jump out of the glass and are then met with aromas of ripe black cherry and vanilla. The cherry shows up again on the palate along with other dark red and purple fruits. This wine lingers for days with a rich core and luscious mouthfeel.
The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Blind Justice Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard is straight-up terrific. Based on 76% Cabernet Sauvignon and 24% Cabernet Franc from a handful of blocks in this great site in Oakville, aged 20 months in 78% new oak, it has a beautiful cassis, wildflower, and sappy herb-driven bouquet as well as a rich yet seamless style on the palate. This full-bodied beauty pairs richness and elegance perfectly, has ripe tannins, terrific balance, and is going to evolve for two decades.
-Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points
Michael David Winery Gluttony Old Vine Zinfandel is made from 100 percent Zinfandel.
This region produces some of California’s biggest and burliest Zinfandels that pull no punches, all too fitting characteristics for this wine. The grapes for this wine come from a 5 acre, 90 year old dry farmed Zinfandel hilltop vineyard off Ridge Road in Amador County, near Sutter Creek. Farmer Jon Murrill oversees the vineyard and does much of the farming himself.
TASTING NOTES This burly Zin is worth the indulgence. Deep purple in color, our 2017 Gluttony Zinfandel opens with tempting notes of pomegranate, ripe berry and hickory on the nose. Bold and booming flavors of plum, boysenberry and spice stand out while the extended barrel aging and mild tannins lend to a lush, lingering finish.
Laird Chardonnay Cold Creek is 100% Chardonnay
Our Cold Creek Chardonnay is grown in the slightly cooler microclimate of the Sonoma side of the Los Carneros district to the west, where thick fog and cool marine winds protect its tender skins. Indigenous to the Burgundy region of France, Clones 15 and 95 at a 50:50 ratio exhibit an approachable style and luminous, golden color.
Tasting Notes: The appearance of golden straw leads you through an aromatic journey with notes of tropical fruits, sweet nectarine, melon, and vanilla. The wine has flavors of jasmine, citrus, and ripe Fuji apple that are complemented by a creamy mouthfeel and hints of lemon curd. The finish lingers on the palate, making you yearn for the next sip.
Vineyard: 100% Cold Creek Ranch
Appellation: Los Carneros
Varietal: 100% Chardonnay
50% Malolactic Fermentation