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An in depth exploration of the source of Vitus grapes

 Napa Valley is one of the world’s most renowned wine making areas in the world, covering 30 miles in length and 5 miles in breadth at its widest. Its open space has been preserved since 1968 in order to establish it as an Agricultural Preserve, and as a result, over a 140 fine wineries have flourished in its vicinity over the years from as early as 1861. The fine wines from Napa Valley have won prestigious awards at various tasting events around the world and are considered to be among the world’s finest brands. With close to 5 million annual visitors and the pleasant California climate, which is ideal for wine making, it is only natural that the grapes used to make our Merlot and Cabernet should be grown in this beautiful region, in Oak Knoll and Oakville respectively.

 

Oakville Appellation

Located around Oakville town, California, the Oakville AVA was planted and developed in 1868 across 240 acres of land near the Napa River by H.W.Crabb; the area increased to 430 acres by 1880. The soil makes this AVA exceptionally rich for the growth of quality grapes, it is a combination of sedimentary deposits from the hills which dot Napa Valley, and has a gravelly-sandy texture to it. The area between the Silverado Trail and State Route 29 is different in the sense that it is more clay and sandy loam based. The overall climate is temperate and therefore ideal for the wine grape growing process, and the wines produced there are very often with hints of mint and herbs, firm tannins, and a pleasant texture.

It is this resulting rich texture and pleasant fruity undertone resulting from the grapes grown on its soil, which has made the Oakville AVA one of the preferred regions for Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine, by its general definition, is one of the world’s most favorite red wines, and one of the finest wines of Californian origins. The wine grapes for a perfect Cabernet Sauvignon flourish in the warm climate, and the high tannin content provides structure to their taste.

Among the many famous wineries within the Oakville AVA, the Robert Mondavi winery produces its signature Fume Blanc wine from Sauvignon grapes grown in their vineyard, while the Georges III Vineyard remains one of the oldest in the region. It was planted in 1895, and is currently owned by Beckstoffer Vineyards, which use advanced trelling systems to increase the production of Sauvignon grapes. It is also part of the main offices of the Beckstoffer Vineyard.

 

The Oak Knoll covering

Also centered on the town of Oakville, California is the Oak Knoll AVA. A well known viticultural area located in the southern corner of the valley, it offers a cooler climate due to its closeness to the San Pablo Bay area, and offers a wine grape growing environment which is moderate and lower in humidity, the Los Carneros AVA being the sole exception as provider of such an environment.

The Oak Knoll is known for having the maximum number of vines planted within its perimeters and offers ideal soil and climate conditions for a wide variety of wine grapes to be grown. Among some of the renowned wines, which are grown in this region are Riesling and Pinot Noir, which are otherwise not commonly grown in other parts of the Napa Valley region. In terms of priority and popularity, the other wines which are grown here, include Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay.

A number of popular vineyards exist in the Oak Knoll AVA include Whitehall Lane Vineyards and Blackbird Vineyards. The Whitehall Lane Vineyard was founded in 1979 after being drawn to the area’s rich, loamy soil. It dedicates itself to making the finest Merlot and Sauvignon. The Blackbird Vineyards were founded in 1999, and were purchased by Michael Polenske in 2003. They produce varieties of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from their 10-acre estate vineyard.

 

The Napa Valley region is ideal for all kinds of wine growing but is exceptional for the production of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which flourish and age well thanks to the temperate climate. From the warmer climate of the Oakville AVA, which facilitates the making of the perfect Sauvignon grape, to the slightly cooler climate of the Oak Knoll covering, which is ideal for Merlot, the region is perfect for wine growing.

The wine grapes for the Vitus Cabernet Sauvignon are harvested within the first half of October and are from the Rydman Family Vineyard, which is located in Oakville.

The Vitus Cabernet Sauvignon is rich in taste with notes of chewy tannins and black currant with cedar undertones and a light touch of violets on the nose. It is aged for 2 years in new French Oak, exudes the spirit and richness of Oakville in taste and smell.

Exuding a contrasting richness filled with dark chocolate, vanilla, and espresso with hints of fruit and those rich velvety tannins which are characteristic of the region, the Vitus Merlot is similarly aged for 2 years in both American and French barrels, and ideally be left to cellar for a minimum of 10 years. But we won’t bug you if you decide to uncork it now! 

April 19, 2014 written by Vitus Wine 0 comments

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