Vine Hill Ranch is a truly iconic Cabernet: a modern cult wine, an estate-grown wine with a real sense of place, the culmination of the Phillips family’s evolution from grapegrowing to winemaking over three generations. They’ve earned a real understanding of terroir through years of traversing the vineyard rows and tending the seven blocks by hand.
Winemaker Françoise Peschon’s approach to winemaking is to proceed with a minimal, gentle touch. Harvested in late September at optimal ripeness, grapes were hand-sorted, cold-soaked, and fermented by native yeast by vineyard lot. Following an extended maceration, the wine aged in new French oak for eight months before it was blended and returned to barrel for one year prior to release. Strikingly perfumed, intense yet lifted, it showcases the elegance, balance, and maturity of fruit from this unique benchland vineyard in southwestern Oakville. Lifted by a vein of minerality and bright acidity, the opulent palate imparts a complexity and lasting purity through a remarkably long finish.
“Vine Hill Ranch’s 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon is flat-out epic. Look for the 2016 VHR to be one of the benchmark wines of this great Napa Valley vintage. A year ago, the 2016 was powerful and dramatic. Today, the 2016 is super-polished and regal in bearing. Vertical and deep, with tremendous complexity, the 2016 has so much to offer. A rush of black cherry, plum, menthol, licorice, sage, dark spice and earthy notes build as this statuesque Cabernet Sauvignon shows off its magnificent pedigree. The 2016 is a monumental, towering wine. That’s all there is to it.”
100 points, Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, Dec 2018
“I have said it before, but it bears repeating. One of the most remarkable things about Vine Hill Ranch is the component wines that aren’t bottled here. One taste of those wines is enough to understand the quality of what goes into the final blend.”
Wine of the Year Honourable Mention, Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, Dec 2018
“The 2016 Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon is a drop dead stunning wine from the Phillips and their talented team of Mike Wolf and Françoise Peschon. This majestic Cabernet bursts opens to seductive aromas of dark currants, blueberries, spices, graphite, iron, violets and a touch of sage all emerging from the glass. On the palate this is equally as impressive, as it boasts a gorgeous full body that shows incredible depth, with a resonating core or ripe dark fruits that expands beautifully through the long polished finish. This is one of the most compelling wines from this fabulous vintage, and readers should not hesitate to get their hands on this years exceptional release from VHR. 2022-2046.”
99 points, International Wine Report, April 2019
“Sporting a saturated purple color, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon VHR is a total blockbuster that spent 21 months in French oak. It knocks it out of the park with its Pauillac-like bouquet of blackcurrants, tobacco leaf, damp earth, lead pencil shavings, and cedarwood. Hitting the palate with a massive texture and full body, it’s a powerful, full throttle effort that has remarkable balance, ripe tannins, and an opulent, sexy texture that’s a joy to drink. Despite its flamboyant style, it’s perfectly balanced and is a sensational wine. Feel free to drink it any time over the coming 20-25 years. Bravo!”
98 points, Jeb Dunnuck, March 2019