Situated towards the southern end of the Napa Valley, just north of the city of Napa and the Los Carneros AVA, lies the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley (OKD).
Being at the southern end of the valley, the climate is a bit calmer, cooled by the San Pablo Bay, making for a longer growing season due to cooler summer temps and drier winters.
For the grapes, this means an earlier bud break and a long, relaxed growing season for optimum ripeness that translate to fruitier aromas, elegant flavors (as opposed to the more well-known big, bold Napa flavors), bright acidity, and excellent texture. All of this is made possible by foggy mornings and cool summer evenings influencing the fruit, in addition to even warming and cooling patterns.
These conditions may sound familiar for other varieties aside from Cabernet and Merlot, and that’s because they are. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir also have a home in the OKD. In fact, there are primarily 18 varieties grown to success in OKD due to the climate conditions.
A few highlight varieties are:
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Pinot Noir
- Sauvignon Blanc
- Petite Sirah
- Cabernet Franc
- Petit Verdot
OKD is know as the “sweet spot” in Napa due to this versatility in successful growths, but let’s be honest here, Cab is still king. It is Napa after all.
Earlier we mentioned the “more well-known big, bold Napa,” but truth be told, that’s just the major players in the open market (i.e. $100+ bottlings). An actual trip to Napa shows you how much elegant finesse is really the widest display of Napa, and what really makes Napa wines all-in-all (anyone tried our Yountville Lot 625 yet? The oak-bomb-punch-in-the-face Cab lovers out there aren’t fans, and that’s fine, it is true, honest Napa Cab as you’d taste in tasting rooms throughout the valley).
So, for a true Napa Valley experience, try OKD wines, who knows, you might actually find yourself enjoying actual Napa Cab.
*Disclaimer: we are actually fans of being punched in the face by our Napa Cabs, so that isn’t a knock to that styling, but look at our business model, we can’t afford $100+ bottles of Cab regularly anymore that you can*