From a 13th century French song, Oberon was known as an elven man of the forest living not far from Bordeaux. In Shakespeare’s “Midsummer’s Night Dream” King Oberon tells Puck to fetch a certain flower to make a love potion. I doubt if Michael Mondavi and Winemaker Tony Coltrin joined forces with the idea of creating Oberon Wines as love potions made from Napa Valley grapes, but I can certainly say that I do like their wines a lot… starting with Oberon Napa Valley Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Being a wine-drinking omnivore, I cover a lot of ground from white and light to deep, dark, and bold. I tend to spend a lot of time searching for wines that pair well with food. In my quest, I’m on a constant lookout for red wines that are full-bodied, yet not overblown and palate fatiguing, that offer flavor, aroma, natural balance and value for money. Based on my recent tasting, Oberon Napa Valley 2019 Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon hit me right in my wine sweet spot.
Oberon 2019 Napa Valley Merlot
This wine is interesting starting with its assembly: 89.4% Merlot (Oakville), 8.6% Syrah (Dry Creek Valley), 2% Zinfandel (Middletown) – a Bordeaux variety with a supporting cast of non-Bordeaux characters that bring fruit juiciness to the blend. This blend brings together fruit from different Napa Valley terroir and grape varieties that compliments the rich fruit characteristics of the Oakville Merlot. The wine is dark and soft (no shape edges here) gained through thoughtful extraction at yields a silky feel on the palate that comes with ripe red plums, blackberries, and mocha. In my mind, what makes this wine work are quality Napa Valley fruit, medium extraction, moderate alcohol (13.9% ABV).
Oberon 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon
Mostly Cabernet Sauvignon (92.4% with 7.6% still mysterious blending varietals, but hints they are Petit Verdot and Zinfandel), this wine smacks of ripe black cherries, blackberries with a dollop of dark chocolate and hints of baking spice enter as the tasting evolves. Artful use of French oak helps to make this wine-friendly yet well-structured and elegant. At 13.7% ABV this wine, as did the Merlot tasted first, showed that enjoyable and food-friendly Bordeaux varietal wines do not have to be high in alcohol.
Last, but surely not least, what makes these wines special to me is their value for money (~$20-25 or thereabouts retail) and their general availability in distribution on-premise and off here in Texas. When checked, there were multiple retail outlets, wine bars, and restaurants in major centers in Texas. Check availability and prices in your area, click here.
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