Oakville is home to such wineries as Screaming Eagle, Harlan Estate, Dalla Valle, Far Niente and is described as being THE epicenter for world-class Cabernet in California. Some of these properties produce wines that are available only to those lucky enough or who have persevered long enough to get on the winery's mailing list where they can pay up to $750 per bottle for the estate's best offerings.
I had the occasion to attend the annual tasting of these wines put on by the Oakville Winegrowers Monday at the Robert Mondavi Winery. More than just the opportunity to taste some of these rare wines which I'd never tasted before, I was actually on a spy mission to learn as much as I could in one day about this heralded sub-appellaton and to try as objectively as possible to determine whether it is really possible for Lineage...By The Steven Kent Winery to achieve the level of vinous success that is now granted as a matter of course to Oakville.
After tasting through about 40 wines (some stunning...Futo's blend and Detert Family's Cabernet Franc come to mind; some spectacularly mediocre), and digesting what I had learned about the appellation's terroir in a terrific Master Class held earlier in the day and comparing it to what I know about the Livermore Valley, I can only conclude that...it is MISSION:PROBABLE. I went today expecting to be knocked back on my heels, tail between my legs...instead I left wondering what the fuss was all about and with that much more confidence in our little appellation (that most don't know about) and our ability to produce a wine of enduring quality and deliciousness.