Cali Cab lovers, rejoice! This is the wine that you reach for when someone suggests that "typical, big, juicy, and ripe California Cabernet Sauvignon". There is a time and a place for this style of wine — it isn't an everyday drinker (well, it will be for some!), but is most appropriately served with special meals and cherished company.
Located in the centre of Napa, surrounded by esteemed neighbours, Yountville to the south and Rutherford to the north, Oakville produces some of the most sought after wines of California. The first vines were planted in Oakville in 1868 by Henry Walker Crabb, where he named this vineyard "To Kalon", which means 'highest beauty' in Greek. Undisputedly, some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon is planted in Oakville by some of the most known and prestigious wineries, like Mondavi, Screaming Eagle, and Heitz.
What makes Napa — and ultimately Oakville — a preferred location for Cabernet? Cab grapes produce the best wines when they are allowed to ripen slow and consistently, in a sunny and moderately warm climate. While California is quite hot, there are moderating factors in Napa that keep the temperature lower, like the morning fog and elevation of plantings above the clouds. The soils must also be well drained and not too fertile, which would cause the vines to stress and put their energy into creating fruit, rather than foliage. Drink by 2029, but we bet you won't be able to wait that long! For optimal enjoyment, open within the next couple years and decant after chilling to 18 C.
Crimson red, with a shimmery core and a slender, paler rim of cherry red.
You don't need to put in much effort to find the aromas in your glass. The richness of fruit and depth of Napa flavours effortlessly waft out of your glass. The cherry, raspberry, and red plums are ripe and decadent, but more elegant than jammy — think berry compote or coulis. Layers of vanilla, warm oak, chocolate, and espresso add the necessary Napa 'touch'.
Oakville Cabs come at a price as the area is small and production is limited, and of course, the quality is impeccable. When purchasing Oakville Cab, you are getting age-ability, depth, and prestige — but not necessarily a deal. Here we find both: a beautifully rich wine with an accessible price. An elevated body that is on the weightier side of medium, is balanced by supple tannins, and fresh acidity. The flavours offer contrast between ripe cherry, figs, and crunchy plum. Savoury, with a touch of herbal, stony minerality, and elegant oak presence produce a classic Oakville Cab. Aged for 24-26 months in barrels that are 70% lightly toasted French Oak.
No need to get too creative here, this wine was made for a prime cut, simple seasoning, and quality produce. Visit your favourite market and butcher to create a meal worthy of a great wine: Ribeye and rosemary roasted potatoes.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Malbec
Retail: $44.99 Club: $35.49