Taste of Oakville 2014

Several months ago, we attended Taste of Oakville 2014. As one of our favorite Cabernet Sauvignon regions in the world, it was a pleasure to attend this event. This year, the wines featured were primarily from the 2011 vintage allowing the taster to get a good perspective on Oakville wines from top producers. As always Robert Mondavi Winery did a world class job hosting the event!

As with a few previous years, we were fortunate to attend the Master Class. It was a highly educational seminar where the panel explored climate differences through the years, their impact on the wines, and steps the vineyards took to adjust throughout the season. Complimenting the session, wines were poured from 2005 to 2012 with slides and discussion showing rain and heat levels per month through the year.

While it was not possible to try every wine during the tasting, the most notable ones follow. They are not sorted in order of preference. If a wine is not listed, we either did not taste the wine, or found it did not show as well as others.

Exceptional Wines

2012 Entre Nous Sauvignon Blanc
2010 Groth Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
2010 Opus One
2011 Screaming Eagle
2011 Screaming Eagle Second Flight

Very good Wines

2004 Bond St Eden
2004 Bond Vecina
2011 Dalla Valle Cabernet Sauvignon
2011 Detert Family Cabernet Franc
2011 Entre Nous Cabernet Sauvignon
2011 Flora Springs Holy Smoke Cabernet Sauvignon
2000 Harlan Estate
2011 MacDonald Cabernet Sauvignon
2012 O’Shaughnessy Chardonnay
2009 Tierra Roja Cabernet Sauvignon
2010 Paradigm Cabernet Sauvignon
2006 Plumpjack Cabernet Sauvignon
2010 Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
2010 Rudd Cabernet Sauvignon
2010 Saddleback Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon

Like other trade tastings we have attended, sample sizes are small and quick judgements are made under not the most ideal circumstances. Having tasted these wines many times over through the years, can reasonable access each wine for obvious qualities. In tasting wine for potential purchase or further evaluation, we value balance, complexity, and age worthiness, in general, a wine that makes a statement on the nose, mid-palate and finish will catch our attention.

Overall, the 2011 vintage was a challenging one for California Cabernet relative to those of the past 5 years. Like most difficult vintages, there will always be exceptions, however in 2011, greater care than normal should be exercised in selecting wines for long term cellaring.

Nick Wittman
Santa Rosa Fine Wine

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