O'Brien Estate Winery
Red Blend •Oak Knoll District
California: Napa Valley
What We Say
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Mission Codename: The Power of Love
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Operative’s favorite, O’Brien Estate, and secure an ample quantity of their beautiful Seduction Napa red blend for our romantically inclined Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: O’Brien
Wine Subject: 2006 O’Brien Estate Seduction
Winemaker: David Yorgensen
Backgrounder: Earlier this year, we had the great fortune to have infiltrated the O’Brien Estate winery, where Agent Red discovered O’Briens incredible 2005 Seduction, an elegant and delicious red blend. Agent Red’s keen nose for blends containing his favorite varietal, Cabernet Franc, led him to secure a cache of cases. Our Operatives purchased all of the allocation, making it one of our more popular Napa reds. Napa Red blends, particularly those from the Oak Knoll District, have always been popular with our Operatives. For today’s wine, we sent Agent Red back to O’Brien to secure their 2006 Seduction, an even more fantastic Double Gold Medal winner. Read Agent Red’s mission report and tasting notes below
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep ruby with a darker heart of garnet to nearly black. This wine has deep color concentration, right out its burgundy-colored edges. On swirling, this wine moves fast and shows a slightly springy surface that settles quickly, leaving behind chubby, wide-spaced legs that take a long time to emerge before they finally crawl down the inside of the glass
Smell – Medium bodied on the nose, leading off with succulent black cherry, sweetwoods, cassis, truffle, a hint of spice – and an unusual wintergreen that shows up on very deep inhalation
Feel – Round and light on entry, then the wine settles in, exhibiting a sexy medium body with supple fine-grained tannins
Taste – Dusky cherry leads the way, with juicy dark mixed berries, soft spice, sweetwoods, and soft oak
Finish – Starts dusky and earthen, and then dark stonefuit emerges and reveals a slight dryness and spicy tannins as flavors tail off slowly
Conclusion – Once again, O’Brien Estate Winery impresses us with its winemaking kung-fu! This wine outshines even the 2005 Seduction which I raved about earlier this year. Fuller of flavor, more voluptuous of feel and more seductive on the nose, this wine provides an even deeper experience. Made from 100% Estate grown fruit, this wine is a delicious threat whose component wines all play together perfectly, with no one varietal outshining another. I am very partial to Cabernet Franc, and while it is certainly present in this wine, it does not come through as vegital or green as Cab Franc can. The Merlot gives the wine a bright acidity while the Cabernet Sauvignon provides ample backbone, without overpowering the wine – or your palate. This is a great food wine, and we enjoyed a bottle with a simple baked penne that was topped with mixed cheese that was browned to a crisp. Later, we opened a second bottle and enjoyed that on its own. This provided two distinctly different experiences. The wine matched perfectly with food, which it complimented rather than muscled out. As a solo-sipper, we were able to more carefully pay attention to its subtle nuances. Either way, we were delightfully seduced!
The life of a wine spy can be a lonely and isolated affair. Field reconnaissance or undercover missions can keep me away from loved ones for days or even weeks at a time. Don’t get me wrong, I love my work. It is incredibly rewarding to sleuth great wines for our Operatives.
Waaaaaaa!, right? Poor Wine Spy, poor International man of wine-intrigue. Okay, I admit it. I sometimes wallow in self pity. Don’t we all get a little blue sometimes?
On a particularly grueling mission recently, I found myself staked out – in the rain – waiting for a local asset to stash a wine in our previously-arranged dead drop. He was late, I was wet and I had not been on a date with Agent Sparkle for what seemed like an eternity.
More rain. More waiting… and then a solitary figure appeared at the edge of the city park. The figure headed for the bench, my dead drop, but the passed right by it. Something was definitely wrong. This person was decidedly more lithe than my bulky field asset.
I crouched lower into the ditch, in the process filling my rubber boots with water. The figure was coming directly toward me now. I crouched lower and, in doing so, slipped in the mud – getting a mouth full of muddy water in the process.
Fearing that I had been spotted, I held perfectly still, listening intently. A loud click-click sound rang out from above me. I braced for the worst… and then realized that the rain has stopped beating down on me.
The sound of soft laughter followed, as did a hand on my shoulder.
“It’s me, silly!”
I asked her, “What are you doing here?” Her smile, warmed me, making me forget my miserable situation.
“I hope that you don’t mind, but I hacked into your mission logs and found out that you would be here. I headed off your asset and got the bottle from him. let’s go find somewhere warm and cozy to open this baby up!”
With that, my spirits were elevated. Within a few minutes we were at our nearest safehouse, fireplace blazing, wine decanted, soft music playing in the background.
For the balance of the evening we thoroughly enjoyed Bart O’Brien’s exquisite Seduction while chatting, laughing and [REDACTED].
If you are looking to lift the spirits of someone you love, or want the perfect wine for your romantic encounters, this wine is highly recommended!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the O’Brien Estate vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
O’Brien Estate Winery, Member, Napa Valley Vintners
Awards & Accolades:
Double Gold Medal Winner – American Fine Wine Competition 2008
About This Wine:
A deep opaque wine with dark and brooding aromas of spicy black cherry and cassis. Juicy and focused flavors of pure wild berry and black cherry fruit with light cedary oak notes and enveloping spicy tannins that are firmly seductive. This wine will age well for 10 years or more.
Seduction is a proprietary red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot from the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley appellation.
About The Winery:
Barb and Bart got married the year after they met, had 2 children (Emily and Mason), and Bart pursued a career starting various companies..
He told Barb he was an entrepreneur when they met. Her response was “I am going to have to marry you because all my sisters are married to Irish entrepreneurs”.
Barb had signed up for quite an adventure. They bought a house together in Piedmont when she became pregnant with Emily, then the house was sold after Emily was born to finance a temporary Halloween theme park venture called Scaregrounds.
After Scaregrounds failed, Bart went back to high tech and joined Bill Paseman to found Calico Commerce, a software company to configure complex products such as computers for the new sales channel called the internet.
After seven long years of living in rental property that was constantly being sold from underneath them, Bart’s first software startup, RSA Data Security, was acquired by Security Dynamics for $500 million. Bart had sold most of the stock to finance their wedding, honeymoon, and the purchase of their first house, but fortunately just enough stock was left to purchase their second house in Los Altos Hills in 1997.
Then Calico Commerce went public in 1999 at a valuation of $1.8 billion.
Bart only sold a small portion of his stock before the high tech crash of 2000 and subsequent failure of Calico, but this was enougth for a down payment to purchase the Costello Vineyard to make Barb’s “dream of owning land in Napa Valley” come true.
On the property are 33 acres of vineyards, a bonded winery, and their home. When you visit, you will be treated to an intimate experience in their backyard sitting at picnic tables under oak trees.
Bart and Barb live on the estate with their two children, Emily (19) who is now off to Western Washington University, their son Mason (16) who is attending Justin Sienna High School, and their dog Sasha (9) who models for the Wine Dogs of Napa Valley book.
Titratable acidity: 0.59 g/100ml
L-malic acid: <0.05 g/L