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A Trip To Napa Valley To Taste Oberon Wines

The Napa Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area) became California’s first American AVA in 1981. There are approximately 46,000 vineyard acres and over 400 wineries spread across 16 AVA appellations. Napa Valley AVA is only 30 miles long and five miles across at its widest point.

Although this is a dry Mediterranean climate, within the appellations and its sub-appellations there are diverse microclimates and terrain that contribute to the grapes distinct characteristics. There are more than 34 grape varieties grown here with Cabernet Sauvignon being the most planted and Chardonnay the second.

Photo is courtesy of Oberon Wines

Tony Coltrin is the winemaker for Oberon Wines, which is part of the Michael Mondavi Family portfolio. Tony was born in St. Helena and is a lifelong resident of Napa Valley. Earning his oenology degree at UC Davis, he has worked in the wine industry for over 45 years. He began his career with Robert Mondavi Winery. In fact, Tony is noted for his winemaking efforts on the first vintages of Opus One as well as Robert Mondavi’s Fume Blanc. I love this quote from the Oberon website. Tony says, “Being a winemaker is not something I do every day; being a winemaker is who I am every day.”

Tony Coltrin  Photo is courtesy of Oberon Wines

Having the advantage of being a lifelong resident, Tony knows every expression of the valley and specifically which sub-zones produce Bordeaux grapes that are exceptional. His lifelong relationships with growers throughout Napa Valley are the very essence of Oberon’s quality and consistency. Tony selects top quality fruit year after year from the finest winegrowing regions throughout Napa.

I received four Oberon wine samples representing Napa Valley and Tony’s gift for winemaking. All the wines are cellared and bottled by The Michael Mondavi Family, Napa, CA. 

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley 2019
This is a blend of 75.6% Sauvignon Blanc and 24.4% Sauvignon Musqué. The grapes are sourced from the warm Pope Valley and cool Carneros appellations. Both cold tank fermentation and 13% barrel fermentation are used to maximize the overall fruit expression. “The cold-fermentation in-tank helps us maintain the pureness of fruit and aromatics, and barrel fermentation adds a subtle creaminess and length.”

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

Floral, pear, melon and lemon aromas open to a palate of pear, honeydew, green apple, a hint of herbs and crisp acidity. The oak fermentation adds depth and richness along with a touch of creaminess. Enjoy as an aperitif or pair with seafood, grilled white meat, veggies and pasta salads.
Alcohol:  13.7%
SRP:  $19

Chardonnay Los Carneros 2018
This is a blend of 99.7% Chardonnay and 0.3% Muscat. The grapes are sourced from cool, breezy, sun-drenched, western facing slopes of Los Carneros. After barrel fermentation the wine is aged in 33% new French oak for seven months.

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

A bouquet of white flowers, pear and honey lead to a rich palate of pear, honeysuckle and apples with vanilla and caramel lingering on the finish. Fresh acidity and balanced fruit add to the expression of this wine. Enjoy as an aperitif or serve with fish, light pasta, grilled veggies, or Mediterranean fare.
Alcohol:  13.7%
SRP:  $22

Merlot Napa Valley 2017
This is a blend of 87.7% Merlot, 10.9% Syrah and 1.4% Zinfandel. The grapes are sourced from the Oakville district. An extended maceration naturally softens the tannins and long fermentation in French oak barrels and 12 months of barrel aging.

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

This wine has luscious dark fruit aromas that segue onto the palate with dark berries, plum, dark cherry and mocha. This is a well-structured wine with silky tannins and elegant notes. Pair with grilled meat, roasts, stews, or seared tuna.
Alcohol:  13.9%
SRP:  $23

Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2018
This wine is a blend of 92.7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7.3% other blending varietals. Grapes for this wine are sourced from Napa’s outstanding areas such as Rutherford, St. Helena, Oak Knoll, Yountville and Pope Valley. Taking the different expressions from each area and layering the fruit, Tony has created complexity and richness in this wine. It is aged for 13 months in 45% new French oak barrels. 

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

Lovely aromas of violet, lush dark fruit and a touch of baking spice set the stage for this elegant and expressive wine. The palate offers layers of dark berries, plum, black cherry, spice and a hint of anise. Dark cherry and bittersweet chocolate linger on a long finish. This is a well-structured wine with silky tannins and richness. Serve with grilled meat, hearty fish, pasta, or hard cheese.
Alcohol:  13.7%
SRP:  $25

These are complex and expressive wines and they can be enjoyed all year round. I know what I’m adding to my “pour list”.

Until next time…

Cheers!

Penny

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