Each year, when we release our new Cultivar Wine Oakville Chardonnay, it means spring has come to Napa Valley. Winter is finally behind us. The vines have woken from their long slumber and are showing the first signs of bud break. The mustard plants burst with sunlight-yellow flowers between the rows of the vineyards. The days are longer, the sunsets more intense. Spring is also when warm breezes hit the cool waters of San Pablo Bay to create the signature fog of northern California.

Though there are over 50 wineries in the Oakville AVA, only a handful of them produce chardonnay. Oakville is typically best known for its cabernet sauvignon. Nonetheless, we keep returning to this magical piece of Napa Valley terroir for our chardonnay year after year.

Why? Because a river runs through it.

Bud break at Caspar Estate in Napa

Bud Break at Caspar Estate in Napa

The Oakville Secret: An Ancient Riverbed

Or at least, a river ran through it. Oakville lies directly atop the ancient riverbed that helped form the Napa Valley. The soil of the Oakville AVA is the result of sedimentary deposits from the mountains that surround the valley. The soil is gravelly and sandy, with exceptionally good drainage. The portion of the AVA between Route 29 and the Silverado Trail is a mix of clay and well-drained sandy loam.

This ancient riverbed soil gives our Oakville chardonnay a signature minerality and salinity. We love this flavor profile in our chardonnay, as it adds a crispness and acidity to the wine that isn’t always typical to Napa chardonnay. But to us, it says “springtime.”

Mother Nature Makes the Grapes, Julien Fayard Makes The Wine

A couple of tons of amazing grapes is only the beginning. It takes a winemaker of experience, skill, and craftsmanship to coax the right flavors out of those grapes. At Cultivar Wine, we’re fortunate to have a Napa legend in the making, Julien Fayard, as our winemaker. Originally from Provence, Julien produces varietals from some of the best wine appellations with French finesse. Formerly of Chateau Lafite Rothschild, he brings over two decades of winemaking expertise to Cultivar Wine.

Recently, Julien’s winemaking prowess caught the attention of The Robb Report, the world’s preeminent magazine on luxury living. You can find their feature story on him here.

Mother’s Day, Easter, and Oakville Chardonnay

Spring is a season of rebirth and renewal. We not only celebrate Easter with the coming of spring, but one of our personal favorite holidays: Mother’s Day! If you’re planning an Easter dinner, or a Mother’s Day celebration, nothing quite pairs with a variety of dishes than our 2019 Oakville Chardonnay. The bright acid and lush flavors make it perfect for lunch, brunch, dinner, or just hanging out and sipping during a warm spring or summer afternoon. Cheers!

Bottle of wine in a field of poppies