The Oakville District of Napa Valley has produced Napa Valley's most sought after Cabernet Sauvignons for 130 years. Perhaps the most famous of all the district's producers, Robert Mondavi has been producing Oakville District Cabernet Sauvignons for 50 years. Designated an American Viticultural Area (AVA) in 1993, the Oakville District region is noted for well-drained soils that allow deep rooting and the development of complex flavors in the grapes.
After grapes were gently destemmed and crushed, we fermented the must with a combination of native (wild) and cultured yeast for layers of complexity. To naturally soften the grape tannins and develop varietal complexity, we gave the wine 37 days of skin contact. A long malolactic fermentation conducted entirely in barrels enhanced the wine's depth and body. During 17 months in small French oak barrels (45% new oak), the wine was racked barrel-to-barrel several times and lightly fined with fresh egg whites. Between rackings, the wine was left undisturbed for optimal clarity. These gentle winemaking techniques allowed us to bottle this Cabernet Sauvignon without filtration to fully retain its complex flavors and long aging potential. The 1998 is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Cabernet Franc, 5% Merlot and 1% Malbec.
Great with Rack of Lamb, Beef Tenderloin, and Grilled Flank Steak.