This past March 26, 2012 as part of the Pawsport Napa Valley event, it was a great opportunity to taste wines from Oakville Ranch Vineyards. In 1989 Bob Miner, cofounder of Oracle, and his wife Mary, purchased the 350 acres property to showcase the unique terroir of this high-elevation vineyard location, but also to create a safe-haven for themselves.
Kristin Thompson, in charge of sales and marketing for the vineyard, greeted us at their beautiful patio with an incredible view of Napa Valley to share some wines and tell us about the property. "Bob and Mary Miner acquired the property back in 1989 with 55 acres under vine, now there is about 89 acres with grapes", Kristin said. Kristin also explained they practice organic and sustainable farming and that the whole vineyard is solar-powered.
Oakville Ranch produces Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel. Kristin shared that they sell approximately 50% of their grapes to other winemakers in the area, but keep the other half for their own wines. Oakville Ranch’s winemaker, Anne Vawter, is native of Walla Walla, Washington and was trained at UC Davis. "Blending is a critical element in Anne's winemaking style and she appreciates to have the opportunity to work with the outstanding Oakville Ranch yield", Kristin said.
"Sadly, Bob Miner passed away from cancer in 1994 but Bob’s spirit maintains a strong presence at the winery", Kristin added as she prepares to pour six beautiful wines to us. We tasted the 2006 and 2009 Napa Valley Chardonnay, 1997 Napa Valley Merlot, 2007 Robert's Blend Cabernet Franc and 2006 & 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. An outstanding collection of flavorful wines that expressed the particular terroir where they are grown along well thought wine making decisions.
- 2006 Oakville Ranch Napa Valley Chardonnay: Elegant Chardonnay with green apple, ripe pear and lemon aromas and flavors. On the palate nine acidity, crisp white fruit flavors and notes of mineral, rounded with hints of vanilla from the French oak. Enjoy this beautiful expression of Chardonnay by itself or pair with white grilled fish, shellfish, roasted chicken and grilled shrimp. (Library Wine)
- 2007 Oakville Ranch Robert's Blend Cabernet Franc: (90% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon) This wine express beautiful aromas of ripe dark berries, cherries, figs and red currants; along with savory gamy notes, wood and smoke. On the palate you enjoy tart blackberry compote, roasted fennel, cola and hints of eggplant rounded up with malty tannins. This wine is very balanced between fruit, acid and tannins, great complexity of aromas and flavors that linger. This wine will be a great companion for roasted beef, duck, eggplant, smoked lamb loin and roasted pork with apple/cranberry sauce. Retails for $98.