1996 Oakford Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #301207 92 points Wine Enthusiast

 Has the usual mid-Napa aromas of cassis, smoke and oak. Flavors are similar, ripe and fruity, verging on jammy. But the tannins are ultrasoft and creamy, yet complex and lacy. Provides sheer pleasure now or you can age it. From consulting winemaker Heidi Barrett. (WE)  (12/1999)

92 points Wine Spectator

 A very seductive wine. Rich in flavor, finesse and polish, with ripe, juicy plum, blackberry, cherry, tar, tea, spice and pretty toasty oak. Not overdone, but complex and elegant, with fine, detailed tannins. Drinkable now. Best from 2001 through 2008. 700 cases made.  (8/1999)

90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Medium red-ruby. Pungent, highly aromatic nose of dark berries, cracked pepper, dark chocolate, shoe polish and oak spice; ripe, complex and slightly briary. Thick and intensely flavored, with flavors similar to the aromas; shows an almost exotic dark berry flavor. Excellent depth of flavor and extract. Fairly strong but well-managed tannins are nicely supported by the wine sheer material. A strong showing. (ST)  (6/1999)

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 A brilliant, backward Cabernet Sauvignon, this dark ruby/purple-colored 1996 exhibits blackberry, cassis, and loamy soil scents in the moderately-endowed bouquet. The tannin level is high, and the wine slightly austere, but rich, medium to full-bodied, and concentrated. It will require patience from prospective purchasers. It exhibits good ripeness, admirable purity, and a long finish. Anticipated maturity: 2004-2018. (RP)  (8/1999)

K&L Notes

Our notes - Awesome. This is a large-scaled, muscular, powerful wine that still manages to possess up-front accessibility and charm. It needs 4-6 years of cellaring and will last 15-20 years no problem. The fact that this winery is right next to Harlan Estate, Heitz, Far Niente, and Paradigm should tell you that it's right in the middle of some serious real estate. Heidi Peterson Barrett is the winemaker. She also makes wine at Grace Family Vineyards, Hartwell Vineyards, Paradigm Winery, and the super-hot Screaming Eagle Winery. She consults with Al Brounstein's Diamond Creek Winery, along with Harrison Vineyards and Pine Ridge. She used to work at Franciscan, Silver Oak, and Dalla Valle Vineyards. David Abreu is the Vineyard Manager.

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Price: $49.99

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Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the M├ędoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.