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Oberon Cabernet Sauvignon 2001
Winemaker Tony Coltrin was born in St. Helena and is a lifelong Napa Valley resident. Having grown up in Napa Valley and worked in the wine industry for over 40 years, Coltrin knows every corner of the valley and precisely which sub-zones excel at producing Bordeaux grapes of exceptional character.
Tony’s life-long relationships with grape growers throughout the Napa Valley are the key to Oberon’s quality. He is able to draw on those friendships to reliably obtain top quality fruit at a fair price year after year. For Oberon, Tony selects Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay grapes from Napa’s best winegrowing regions, including Rutherford, Oakville, Oak Knoll, Wooden Valley, and Los Carneros.
By layering together structured hillside fruit, plush fruit from the alluvial valley floor and fruit sourced from diverse soils within the valley, Tony crafts quintessential Napa Valley wines: complex, flavorful wines with ample natural acidity. Oberon Cabernet Sauvignon is a classic Napa Cabernet with deep, rich color and concentrated blackberry and cassis flavors. The Merlot shows textbook plum and black currant flavors and silky texture. The Sauvignon Blanc is partially fermented in barrel, adding body and texture to the vibrant green apple, kiwi, pear and melon fruit flavors.
One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production as well as tourism, the Napa Valley was responsible for bringing worldwide recognition to California winemaking. In the 1960s, a few key wine families settled the area and hedged their bets on the valley's world-class winemaking potential—and they were right.
The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980s, when producers scooped up vineyard lands and planted vines throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, and today Napa is home to hundreds of producers ranging from boutique to corporate. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Napa whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that claim specific characteristics based on situation, slope and soil. Farthest south and coolest from the influence of the San Pablo Bay is Carneros, followed by Coombsville to its northeast and then Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford. Above those are the warm St. Helena and the valley's newest and hottest AVA, Calistoga. These areas follow the valley floor and are known generally for creating rich, dense, complex and smooth reds with good aging potential. The mountain sub appellations, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs, include Stags Leap District, Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley (farther east), Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain District and Diamond Mountain District. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from a lot of time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon enjoys success all over the globe. Inherently high in tannins and acidity, the best bottlings of Cabernet can age beautifully, with the ability to last fifty years or more. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in temperate climates like Bordeaux's Medoc region and forms the base of the Medoc reds, which are typically mostly Cabernet with Merlot and smaller amounts of some combination of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. (Enjoying a great deal of success in various regions around the world, this blend is now globally referred to as a Bordeaux Blend.) Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious, age-worthy and sought-after “cult” wines.
In the Glass
High in color, tannin and extract, Cabernet Sauvignon expresses notes of blackberry, cassis, plum, currant, spice and tobacco. In Bordeaux and elsewhere in the Old World you'll find the more earthy, tannic side of Cabernet, where it is typically blended to soften tannins and add complexity. In warmer regions like California Washington, Argentina, Chile and Australia, you can typically expect more ripe fruit flavors upfront.
Cabernet Sauvignon is right at home with rich, intense meat dishes—beef, lamb and venison, in particular—where its opulent fruit and decisive tannins make an equal match to the dense protein of the meat. With a mature Cabernet, opt for tender, slow-cooked meat dishes.
Despite the modern importance and ubiquity of Cabernet Sauvignon, it is actually a relatively young variety. In 1997, DNA profiling revealed the grape to be a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc which took place in 17th century southwestern France.