Looking for Robb Report UK? Click here to visit our UK site.

8 Outstanding Cabernet Sauvignons From Napa Valley’s Storied Oakville Region

Home to 70 producers making some of the region's foremost red wines.

oakville red wines Far Niente , Baldacci Family Vineyards, Heitz Cellar

Once home to dense oak forests from which it takes its name, this small town and AVA in Napa Valley is now Cabernet Sauvignon country. At the geographic center the valley, Oakville sprang to life as a water stop for steam trains plying the tracks of the Napa Valley Railroad Company in the 1860s. In 1868, Napa winemaking pioneer H.W. Crabb bought 240 acres of land near the Napa River, planted vines, and started a winery he called To Kalon, which means “the highest beauty” in Greek.

This two-mile-wide stretch of Napa Valley was granted American Viticultural Area status in 1993. Today it hosts 5,000 acres of grapes and more than 70 producers and growers whose wines are among the foremost Cabernet Sauvignon and red blends in the world. Among Oakville’s historical highlights are Heitz Cellars bottling of California’s first “vineyard designate” wine, its Heitz Cellars 1966 Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, and Groth Vineyards & Winery 1985 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve receiving 100 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, the first ever perfect score for a wine from California.

Valley floor fruit at the center of the region receives ample sunlight and a constant cycle of morning fog and cooling influences from San Pablo Bay and an influx of warmer air from San Joaquin Valley to the east. In the Vaca Range on the east side of the AVA, elevations rise to 1,400 feet and receive sun late in the day, while vineyards in the Mayacamas Mountains on the west side ascend to a more moderate 500 feet and benefit from afternoon shade. A variety of soils that includes alluvial, sedimentary, and volcanic allows for a diverse array of flavor and tannin profiles within the Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc grown here. Here are some of the best wines from this region at the heart of Napa Valley.

More Wine