A very wet winter kicked off the growing season in Napa, with rainfall extending through spring all the way into mid-June. This delayed bud break and bloom by several weeks, and further rain disrupted fruit set. The cool summer that followed led to a late harvest and one that required much patience in waiting for the grapes to fully ripen. That optimum point was finally reached several weeks later than normal. Patience paid off, though, and shows in the ripe flavors of the high quality fruit brought in for the 2011 harvest.
Wine Maker Notes
After the grapes were gently hand-harvested, de-stemmed and crushed, the juice fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, with an extended post-fermentation maceration that beautifully married flavors and tannins, giving our Oberon Cabernet Sauvignon its lovely, seamless texture. Malolactic fermentation in barrel, combined with 12 months oak aging (45% new French oak), further concentrated the wine’s vibrant red cherry, candied blackberry, and spice flavors, adding a hint of coffee and a lingering dark chocolate note on the finish.
Over the years, I continue to be amazed by the diversity to be found within Napa Valley vineyards. At one site, you find vines growing out of poor, volcanic soil, while the next site sits in a deep, fertile alluvial bed. The array of conditions found in the Napa Valley is unique, due to the climate and geography of the valley. The north-south orientation allows the cooling influence of the bay to travel up the valley from its open southern end. Different from valleys open at both ends, Napa Valley is a "box canyon" closed off at the northern end by Mount St. Helena. This traps the moisture and results in layers of fog lines down the valley, providing a variety of microclimates paired with different soil compositions. These unique combinations ultimately result in recognizable wine characteristics from different vineyards. Given such a wide variety to work with, it's a pleasure each year to put together the best combination of ideal grapes in order to make Oberon wines.