91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(13.5% alcohol; the Anakota wines are 100% cabernet sauvignon, from very poor volcanic ash and red soil; harvested before the Helena Dakota vines): Bright medium ruby. Black cherry, leather and herbs on the nose, along with hints of menthol and licorice. Not an opulent style but pure, intense mountain cabernet nonetheless. showing lovely spicy definition and even a touch of delicacy to the black cherry, dark berry, violet and coffee flavors. Finishes with a piquant note of cranberry and dusty tannins that coat the teeth. "It's always good when the spice holds the hand of the tannins," noted winemaker Pierre Seillan. Very small berries here yielded just 1.5 tons per acre, and production of these two 2011s is down about 60% from a normal year. (ST) (5/2014)
91 points Vinous
Inky, deep and gorgeous, the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Helena Montana Vineyard emerges from the glass with blackberry jam, cassis, sweet spices, menthol and cloves. This is a surprisingly juicy, full-bodied wine with superb depth for the year. Typically firm Knights Valley tannins support the finish. All the elements fall into place nicely. I am intrigued to see how the 2011 ages. There is certainly plenty to look forward to here. (AG) (2/2014)
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Interestingly, I did not taste the 2012s, but the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Helena Montana Vineyard is an outstanding wine offering notes of crushed rocks, graphite, blueberries and blackcurrants. With lots of tannin as well as surprising density and richness, it is a successful 2011 that requires 3-4 years of cellaring. It should keep for 15 or more years. (RP) (10/2014)
KNIGHTS VALLEY: Struggle and stress best define the growing conditions for this Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. We planted our Helena Montana Vineyard on the foothills of Mount St. Helena which rises more than 4,000 feet above sea level. This distinctive, two-peaked mountain remains the heart of an ancient volcanic zone responsible for the complex, mineral-rich soils of Knights Valley and nearby grape-growing districts.
VINEYARD: Running northeast to southwest on the eastern side of scenic Highway 128, the Helena Mountain vineyard offers ever-changing topography. Rolling hills abut steep benches with slopes of up to 30 degrees. This juxtaposition of hills, knolls and trees routes cool, westerly winds away from the vines. Planting vines perpendicular to the prevailing winds provides even more protection. A pure mountain stream and rocky ridge separate this vineyard from our Helena Dakota vineyard.
SOIL: Distinctive yellow-white soil that does not yield easily to touch typifies this vineyard. This pale, sandy and gravelly loam at first glance resembles solid rock. A stringent pruning process forces the roots of vines down through this firm soil strata rather than allowing them to grow parallel to the surface as they would on their own. All the same, the roots do not deeply penetrate the earth, which results in smaller, more stressed vines than those of our neighboring Helena Dakota vineyard