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New release: VHR, Vine Hill Ranch – Napa at its finest
03 November 2021

Walking out into the family vineyard in the heart of prime Oakville in the early noughties, Bruce Phillips’ father Robert asked him a question; “Are the accolades being given to the wines coming out of this vineyard down to the vineyard itself, or to fancy winemaking?” At this time, the family had farmed the vineyard for over 40 years, supplying grapes to some of the valley’s most sought after bottlings. It was no secret to them or their partners just how special this vineyard was. Furthermore, Bob Parker had recently lifted the lid on Vine Hill Ranch being the source of Bill Harlan’s BOND Vecina bottling, so the wider wine world was sitting up and taking notice too. The only surprising thing for most of those involved was that Phillips family hadn’t yet tried releasing a wine.

Fast forward twenty years and the 2018 vintage marks just the 11th vintage of the Phillips family’s own VHR cuvee. It is a remarkable vineyard, a 70-acre plot that runs from the classic Oakville benchlands right up to the forest’s edge on the slopes of the Mayacamas range. Catching the morning sun, it borders Harlan Estate to the north and Christian Moueix’s Dominus to the east. It is a beautiful, undulating site, whose alluvial fans are dotted with rare seams of white volcanic rhyolitic bedrock. The family calls it moondust, such is its rarity and stark appearance. For many vintners, vineyards in the valley don’t get much better than this.

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