Gentle Slopes and flats of Oak Knoll
The southernmost AVA entirely in Napa County, Oak Knoll benefits more from the cool breezes and fogs from San Pablo Bay. This makes for wines that are generally a little lighter in body bodied and slightly higher acidity wines. As Oak Knoll also happens to be the AVA closest to where I am staying, I’ve already introduced you to Luna, Razi, William Hill, and Del Dotto, but wait! There’s more!:
Darioush (www.Darioush.com) - While many big-name wineries are surprisingly hard to find, there is no missing Darioush. The big and bold style of the winery reflect the weight and passion in the wines that are as well balanced as they are big. The full-bodied, floral and savoury Viognier is among the best in the Valley, and the Cabernet programme top-notch; look for the Caravan label for high-quality Napa wine at a reasonable price.
Signorello (www.signorelloestate.com) - On the very northern edge of Oak Knoll, Signorello may have an Italian name but the wines are a blend of Napa terroir and French winemaking. Very good quality wines of classic Napa varietals Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are not the overt oaky-styles you’d expect, but the very Rhone-esque Syrah is arguably the best I’ve had in California thus far; a little more fruit than the French, but savoury and refreshing acidity show this varietal can succeed here.
Trefethen (www.trefethen.com) – Another of my favourite Cabernets, Trefethen has a large Oak Knoll estate from which to choose their grapes. With hints of baking spice at a youthful age, the Napa Cab is not a big fruit bomb, and their XXXX vineyard shows potential for prolonged aging. A neat addition to their programme is their dry-Riesling; lime and petrol would have you in Clare Valley in a blind tasting.
Silver Oak (www.silveroak.com) – The name says it all for the theme of this email. Located halfway between the Silverado Trail and Oakville itself (hence the name), Silver Oak has earned international reputation based on premium Cabernet Sauvignon aged 24 months in French barrels. Grapes are sourced from both the Alexander Valley (in Sonoma) and Napa, offering a relatively lighter, food friendly style and a more robust, needs-a-steak style. Look for their Twomey labels for more youthful styles of Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot.