2006 Oak Knoll Cabernet Sauvignon
California: Napa Valley
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Mission Codename: Grandest Aspirations
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Secure a brilliant Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon for our deserving Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished
Current Winery: Ideology Cellars
Wine Subject: 2006 Oak Knoll Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Winemaker: Brian Graham
Backgrounder: Five years ago, to the month, the Oak Knoll District at the northern end of the Napa Valley was finally affirmed to be distinct sub-appellation of Napa Valley. This region is known for its relatively cool climate and for producing grapes with the perfect balance of acidity and sugars – resulting in delicious and very food-friendly wines. Read Red’s mission report and tasting notes, below, for the full intel on today’s great wine
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark deep garnet with a dark but clear core and deep ruby edges. Slow clusters of thick legs move slowly down the glass when swirled
Smell – A dusky rush of fresh cherry leads the charge, followed by more earthen aromas of subtle tobacco, dried rose petal, dusted chocolate, cedar and clove. These mingle with a hint of plum, currant and subtle tomato vine
Feel – Smooth, ultra-bright and round at first, then drying and then tangy with a touch of soft mineral on the mid palate. This medium-bodied wine has supple tannins and great acidity
Taste – Bold and bright fruit leads off this wine with flavors of strawberry, bing cherry, tart plum and overripe blackberry. These are followed lovingly by soft cedar, smoky blueberry, burned blackberry tart (pastry) with subtle tobacco. Toward the rear of the palate, a certain tartness appears with flavors of dark cherry and tart smoky plum
Finish – Super long and ultra-clean with flavors that linger as its tart fruit and earthen components ramp up slightly before tailing off slowly
Conclusion – This delicious 2006 Oak Knoll Cabernet Sauvignon shows great character and fun fruit. Ready to drink now, we are certain that you should cellar a few bottles for the next few years for the big payoff with this wine. To some, the wine may be showing a little young, but we really enjoyed the bottle we shared as we reviewed it over gourmet pizza. We were thrilled to be able to bring you an Oak Knoll wine, as this is an AVA that we seldom infiltrate. The wine is big and rich, as you would expect from a Napa Cab, but it has perfect balance with a brightness and acidity that is somewhat less common. This is a great drink on it own wine, but it pairs beautifully with most foods – without bowling them over as some Napa Cabs may tend to do.
Agent White was on one of his political rants again. Lets just say that his political views differ somewhat from my own.
“Listen,” I said. “Let’s just agree to disagree on this point. Instead, let’s focus on getting caught up on our wine sleuthing. Let’s leave political ideology on hold and get back to our Napa Valley mission planning. We need to find an incredible Cabernet Sauvignon from the Northern end of the Valley, a region we’ve been ignoring of late.”
Behind me, my W.I.N.E. (Wine Internet Nexus Engine) terminal let out a soft boop. We turned to look at the screen, and saw a series of facts and figures appear. It then spoke:
Based on your search parameters, there is a high probability that the ideal wine is a 2006 Ideology 2006 Oak Knoll District Cabernet Sauvignon, from Ideology Cellars/Silenus Vintners
Agent White and I both looked at each other. I gave a shrug, and he said, “I’ll flip you for it!”
“No way,” I replied. “My office, my terminal, my mission!”
With that I spoke to my terminal: “Transfer all data to my handheld and log me out. I’m on my way to Oak Knoll to investigate!”
I traversed the Napa Valley, to where the Oak Knoll District meets Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley, a region that has curried the favor of many a Wine Spies Operative. I stopped into a local bottle shop and picked up a bottle of Ideology’s 2006 Oak Knoll District Cab. Once back in the Top Secret Wine Van (I borrowed our non-desrcript surveillance van since my car was still in the shop) I poured a glass for myself – and I poured a sample into the W.I.N.E. analysis device. The wine was incredible, and after a few sip-and-spits, I punched up an inquiry, asking the system to guide me to the vineyards.
On arrival at the Robert Williamson Family Estate, where the grapes for the wine was grown, I was struck by the beauty – but also by the crazy composition of the soils here. Picking up a handful, the soil appeared gravelly and very sandy. Hardly what someone new to wine might consider ideal conditions for wine grapes, but the proof was in the tasting; Ideology has managed to make an incredible wine from what they call the best possible conditions – for grapes that produce wines of “quality and uniqueness”.
Back in the van, I headed to the Silenus tasting room. Once inside, I spotted the confidential informant that I had developed some months back. I sidled up to the tasting bar and whispered the current code-phrase. Her counter phrase confirmed that she was free to discuss the wine. I was lucky to have found her here, working behind the counter, and I was able to expeditiously secure a small number of cases for today’s showing.
I hope that you partake, dear Operative, as this is a classy wine with great structure and deep flavor. The wine has all the balance and elegance necessary to make it a great solo-sipping wine, or a fine companion to a fine meal.
Cheers to you, Operative, and a big thanks to Ideology for allowing us to show their fantastic 2006 Oak Knoll District Cabernet Sauvignon.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of Silenus Vintners, where this wine is being poured daily, can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
On the nose, rose petals, briary red fruits with clove, cinnamon and cedar chest. A seamless transition from the nose leads to a voluptuous mid-palate of ripe black plums and cherries, leading into a long soft finish of dark chocolate, clove and vanilla bean.
This vineyard, north of Napa, is something special. It is bordered on the north by Dry Creek, which has left its legacy by distributing sandy and gravelly soil throughout the vineyard. These soils translate into ideal growing conditions for the fruit, yielding deep, concentrated and intense flavors in the wine. This unique estate vineyard, the Robert Williamson Family Estate, is located in the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley.
After picking, the grapes were sorted and de-stemmed into a fermentation tank where they rested and soaked for four days. After a warm fermentation, the wine was gently pressed to barrels for malolatic fermentation. This wine was aged in 40% new French Oak barrels for 17 months with traditional fining using natural egg whites.
About The Winery:
Ideology was born from our sheer passion for wine and for the Napa Valley. Aside from the science of winemaking, our senses define the direction of our wines. Our commitment and dedication to creating handcrafted, world class wines that thrill and delight the senses is the basis of our philosophy.
We’re not sure exactly how or when it happened … whether it could be defined by a precise moment in time, or whether it was a gradual revelation – but it happened. Joni and I fell in love with the beautiful, idyllic Napa Valley wine country. Our love affair went beyond the vineyard covered countryside. We fell in love with the people … the way of life … the lush, provocative, boutique wines we discovered off the beaten path and, of course, the winemaking process itself. We were hooked.
Fast forward to today, where we proudly nurture our grapes on our estate vineyard, the Robert Williamson Family Estate. Our meticulously hand harvested fruit is then lovingly made into wine at our multi-winery facility, Silenus Vintners. It is here that Ideology Cellars’ wines are served in a beautiful tasting room along with thirteen other boutique wines produced by families with stories similar to ours. We are proud to have made the transition from a coastal, custom home builder family, to Napa Valley vintner – and we haven’t looked back. We invite you to visit us and enjoy our wines in the tasting room, or perhaps catch us for a barrel tasting in the cellar. Whichever your pleasure, we look forward to sharing our wines with you. Cheers!
Bob, Joni & Ashlee Williamson
About The Winemaker:
Formally educated in enology and winemaking at the University of Bordeaux, our winemaker, Brian Graham, worked and was mentored at Chateau Roquefort. He went on to further his studies at the Wine and Spirits Education Trust in London, after which time he worked for a boutique winery in Burgundy, Domaine Serrigny-Jean-Pierre and Fils in Savigny-Les-Beaune. These two experiences gave him the foundation for creating balanced, terroir-driven wines that are meant to be original, complex and age-worthy.
Appellation: Napa Valley
Release Date: March 01, 2008