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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Cabernet Day: Spot light on the Oakville AVA

Fame is a bee.It has a song, it has a sting, ah, too, it has a wing" ~Emily Dickinson 

In the case of wines from Oakville I would have to say more song than sting. With that thought in mind consider the Franciscan Estate 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, which I received as a sample.

A majority of the grapes which went into that blend were from the "famous" Oakville AVA, a very similar "terroir"as the Mondavi 2007 "Oakville" Cabernet.

Many of the Cabernet's that I've encountered from this AVA over the years are among some of the best wines I've ever had the great pleasure to have in my glass and a few aging in my cellar [such as it is].

Most of Cabernet Sauvignon's from this area are what I would consider "cellar-worthy" wines that I'm sure you will come to love and appreciate as they continue to reward the patient and those who just can't wait alike on a very consistent basis.

What does it mean when you see the term Oakville AVA on wine bottle label? The exact definition which I found in the Wine Lovers Companion says that; "A wine which has a specific AVA on the label must contain a minimum of 85% grapes grown within the legal boundaries of the AVA." in California.

But what does that mean to you the average vino-sapien out there scouting for a good deal on your next bottle of vino? In simple terms it forces wineries to produce wines using grapes from that very small 6000 acre parcel that composes the Oakville AVA; which ensures you that you are getting a premium product.

It also has another purpose it ensures the integrity of the brand for the long established winemakers and producers who depend on that designation to auger a few more dollars per bottle [I believe they call that a reputation defender].
Most wine geeks like me are excited about the wines produced in the Oakville AVA. Because it's home to some of the most famous labels in the Napa Valley like; Robert Mondavi, Harlan, Rudd, Opus One and Screaming Eagle just to name a few.

The famous Kalon and Martha’s Vineyard grow some of the most sought-after grapes in the state and are produced from Oakville fruit. So is it any wonder that a majority of the wines from producers liker Franciscan can produce some outstanding examples of Cabernet Sauvignon even in their inexpensive Franciscan Estate bottling for bargain prices if you know where to look.
For example you can pick up a bottle of Mondavi Oakville or Franciscan Estate with grapes sourced from the famous Oakville AVA for under $30.00, So run don't walk and pick yourself up one of the best value Cabernet's from Napa. These are just two representations of the 2007 and 2008 vintage that I've recently tasted. I think these wines are showing great promise for those who like to wait, but will also reward the drink now and drink often crowd as well. Until next time sip long and prosper, cheers!

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