Though all of Napa is known for its Cabernet magic, Oakville is one of those special sub-appellations where Cabernet is something really special. When we searched for Cabernet Sauvignon for our 2018 releases, we knew we wanted fruit sourced from this unique appellation. Not just for what happened in the region during the 2018 growing season, but because of a reputation cultivated throughout the decades.
And we’re not the only ones looking for that magic. Oakville is home to the legendary Robert Mondavi Winery. There’s also, Far Niente, Cardinale, and even the iconic Opus One. The truth is, Oakville is home to some of the most iconic Cabernet Sauvignon produced in Napa Valley. Let’s take a look at why this region creates some of the most sought-after terroir wines in California, and how Cultivar Wine’s 2018 Oakville Cabernet sits alongside some prestigious names.
Oakville sits right in the center of Napa Valley. It covers a two-square-mile swath of the valley floor and then slopes up another 500 feet into Mayacamas bench and 1,000 feet up the Vaca Mountains to the east.
There are three types of soils that define the Oakville appellation. The breakdown of the various bedrock plates creates residual soils in the hills. Along the margins of the valley, distinct alluvial soils form on the fans composed of material washed down from the adjoining hills during torrential rain events. Along the axial part of the valley where the Napa River flows are fluvial soils, finer-grained loam coming from upstream locations and deposited from floodwaters.
General Mariano Vallejo awarded Napa founding father George Yount a nearly 12,000-acre land grant in 1836, which extended all the way into what is now Oakville. Yount then became the first man to plant grapes in Napa Valley, in what would later be his namesake appellation, Yountville. In 1877, Charles Hopper planted grapes on a section of the northern area of the land grant that he had purchased for his daughter, Missouri. Today, the Beckstoffer family owns the Missouri Hopper Vineyard. It is one of the most sought-after vineyards in the valley. Another Oakville vineyard with a world-famous reputation is To Kalon. Hamilton Crabb plated the vineyard in 1868, and Robert Mondavi purchased the site a century later for his winery. As you can see, Oakville Cabernet has a long and rich history.
February saw abundant rains in 2018, followed by lots of filtered light in spring and early summer. Both bud break and flowering occurred a bit late, but under ideal weather conditions, creating plentiful and even fruit set. Summer brought generous sun during the day and cooler marine influences, virtually uninterrupted by major heat spikes. The relatively mild summer followed by extended fall sunshine and moderate heat created near-ideal growing conditions. This allowed winemakers to let their fruit accumulate flavor complexity with gradual increases in sugar levels. Harvest levels were up 20-30% over average crop quantity.
Is it any wonder that we sourced our 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon from this incredible wine-growing region? As with all of our fruit sources, we have built relationships with regional growers, and Oakville is one of our favorites. We source fruit from a family-run vineyard located directly on the valley floor. They have a long legacy in Oakville and produce only 1,000 cases on their own. Lucky winemakers like us get the rest of the fruit. That said, we only got our hands on enough to make about 80 cases.
Our delicious Cabernet expresses both the characteristics of the 2018 Oakville vintage and the personality of its valley floor location. The dark purple color is surrounded by a gorgeous garnet ring, reflecting the 100% Cabernet fruit inside. Surprising yet delightful fragrances of earth, moss, mushroom, and bacon delight the nose. The flavor profile is signature Cabernet.
The palate is lush with plum, blackberries, clove, and fresh herbs. The finish is balanced with medium intensity, offering a plush, richness that reveals real maturity for the 2018 vintage. Enjoy with a classic juicy burger, or a Pt. Reyes blue cheese burger, Osso Bucco, cioppino or even Chicken Cacciatore.
But act fast! The 2018 Cultivar Oakville Cabernet is going fast. Click here to order!