Oakville Ranch Vineyards
1998 Robert's Blend
California: Napa Valley
What We Say
LIBRARY RAID ALERT!:
This wine was recently removed from general circulation. We were able to raid the winery’s library – and secure a small cache for you. Get some – before its gone forever. We got our hands on the final cases…
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT!:
This is an incredible red wine. Its drinking perfectly and we can’t say enough about how great it is. It’s great, get it, GREAT!!
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Mission Codename: The Great Raid – A Redux Tribute
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Retrieve a supply the recently archived 1998 Oakville Ranch Robert’s Blend, and make it available exclusively to our Operatives.
Mission Status: Accomplished
Current Winery: Oakville Ranch Vineyards
Wine Subject: 1998 Robert’s Blend
Winemaker: Ashley Heisey
When a winery begins to run low on a particular vintage, they usually take it out of circulation and ‘retire’ it to their library. The moment this happens, the wine becomes more rare – or even becomes totally unavailable. Today’s wine is only available here, today. If the winery places the wine on sale again in the future, you’ll likely see prices approaching $100 or more. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes below.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark purple with deep garnet hues and a dark clear core. Garnet and brick edges and slow chubby legs cling to the glass when swirled.
Smell – Medium bold in intensity, the bouquet on this wine has well developed and inviting aromas of black and red fruit, notably fresh raspberries over a base of fresh wild anise and hints of green pepper, pine, floral notes and spice.
Feel – Initially smooth and dry, this full-bodied with is then tangy at the mid-palate with fine supple tannins and balanced acidity.
Taste – Complex in nature with flavors of blackberries and raspberries along with its herbaceous anise, green pepper. Floral notes and a touch of earthy bramble-brush along with a touch of pine and spice.
Finish – This wine finishes long, clean and complete with notes of its fruit, earth and spice.
Conclusion – This wine is truly a lovely blend of the best of both Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon Well developed aromas and lush classic flavors that represent the best tribute possible for the founder of Oakville Ranch.
Agent Red had been raving about Oakville Ranch Vineyard’s proprietary Robert’s Blend. And for good reason, he’s a huge fan of Cabernet Franc and this blend is about two-third’s Cab Franc. That being said, OPS was concerned that he had been compromised by his bias and thus dispatched me to ‘verify’ the wine’s quality.
The object of investigation was to be the 1998 library vintage of Robert’s Blend. Named in tribute to the winery’s founder Robert Miner. Agent Blush had brought me the dossier and the wine – but that’s not the way I like to work. I needed to see the vineyard and get ‘up-close and personal’ with the production.
I would have to be discrete as I didn’t want to compromise Agent Red’s relationship with the winery so through a local asset I gained access to the vineyard. The property located on the east side of Napa was lovely and its volcanic soil, its west facing aspect and the elevation lead me to believe that, indeed, this was ideal Cab Franc and Cab Sauv Terroir.
Upon opening the bottle, my impressions were confirmed. Not only is Robert’s Blend a tribute to Robert Miner, it is a tribute to quality of the fruit and handcrafted production.
My report to OPS will show that Red’s love of the wine is fully justified and I expect that now I will be investigated for perceived bias as well.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of Oakville Ranch Vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Oakville Ranch Vineyards, Member, Napa Valley Vintners
About This Wine:
The extremely limited annual production (148 cases) Robert’s Blend is in essence an homage to the founder of Oakville Ranch, Robert Miner. A pioneering maverick in the software industry, Bob succumbed to the siren song of the valley in 1989. Along with his wife mary, bob purchased nearly 400 acres, of which 90 are planted to vine nearly 1500 feet above the valley floor of Aakville. Unfortunately bob passed away in 1994, leaving the estate in the capable hands of Mary, who promptly dedicated a unique blend to her husband. Bob was a big-time lover of Cab Franc, long before it became fashionable. This blend captures the alluring aromatics and briar texture of Cab Franc as well as the depth, backbone and curranty flavors of Cabernet Sauvignon. Truly one of a kind.
About The Vineyard:
Located on a sloping plateau that rises to 1,400 feet above the Silverado Trail on the East side of the Napa Valley, Oakville Ranch was one of the Oakville appellation’s pioneering vineyards. Since then, several other highly regarded and prestigious wineries have become neighbors, drawn to this hillside for its powerful, signature-red volcanic soils. In 1989, when Bob and Mary Miner purchased the 350-acre ranch, 55 acres of vineyards were planted to Chardonnay and Bordeaux varietals – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc.
Through the years, the vineyards have been meticulously tended. Additional small vineyards enclaves have been developed as certain sites have revealed their promise. The shallow and miserly rocky soils slowly release their Spartan nutrients, naturally limiting the grape crop to an intense few bunches per vine.
About The Winery:
In 1989, when Bob and Mary Miner purchased the 350-acre ranch, 55 acres of vineyards were planted to Chardonnay and Bordeaux varietals – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. Located on a sloping plateau that rises to 1,400 feet above the Silverado Trail on the East side of the Napa Valley, Oakville Ranch was one of the appellation’s pioneering vineyards. Since then, several other highly regarded and prestigious wineries have become neighbors, drawn to this hillside for its powerful, signature-red volcanic soils. Through the years, the vineyards have been meticulously tended. Additional small vineyard enclaves have been developed as certain sites have revealed their promise. The shallow and miserly rocky soils slowly release their Spartan nutrients, naturally limiting the grape crop to an intense few bunches per vine. With each vintage, the wines of Oakville Ranch speak clearly of their origin – a richly layered expression of its location, soil, structure, and heritage.
About The Winemaker:
Ashley Heisey, Winemaker – Of the Oakville Ranch wines, Winemaker Ashley Heisey, says, “The ranch is a patchwork of blocks with different aspects and exposures – each having a distinct vinous voice. It is my challenge to coax them to sing in unison. I have always been awed by the distinctive character and power of the fruit from this ranch.”
Appellation: 100% Oakville Ranch
Varietals: 61% Cabernet Franc, 29% Cabernet Sauvingon
Harvest Date: October 23-26,1998
Fermentation: 18 days on the skins
Barrel Aging: 24 months french oak, 60% new french oak
Bottling Date: January 12, 2001
Production: 110 Cases