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Awards & Accolades

 

 

 

Wine Advocate Scores

96 points -  2012 Unrestrained Reserve

O'Brien's heaviest bottle is reserved for their 2012 Proprietary Red Blend Unrestrained Reserve, a blend of 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot and 14% Cabernet Franc. A killer wine aged 18 months in 100% new French oak that has a dense purple color, beautiful blackberry and cassis fruit a hint of graphite and spring flower. It’s full-bodied, pure and beautifully textured. Sadly, only 149 cases were produced, but this is blockbuster wine from O’Brien Estate and certainly a great 2012. Drink it over the next 12-15 years.

93+ points - 2008 Unrestrained Reserve

The 2008 Unrestrained Reserve is a blend of 49% Cabernet Franc, 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 7% Merlot. Surprisingly, this wine seems more shy than any of the others in its aromatics, but I’m sure there’s a lot under the surface. The color is a healthy dark ruby/purple, and the wine hints of black cherry liqueur, black currant, charcoal and camphor. In the mouth, it is juicy, full-bodied, opulent, and impossible to resist. It is a layered, concentrated, big wine but extremely well-balanced and pure. It should drink well for up to 15 or 20 years. 

All three Merlots come from the southern Oak Knoll section of Napa Valley and all three are brilliant efforts that are as good as Merlot can be. Two more winners from O’Brien are their proprietary reds called Romance of The Heart, both blends of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. O’Brien’s flagship wines (again from their holdings in the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley) are the 2007 and 2008 Unrestrained Reserve.

94+ points - 2007 Unrestrained Reserve

The 2007 Unrestrained Reserve (with the same blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot) shares a similarly restrained character with its younger sibling. I don’t know what the explanation is. Inky purple, with hints of plum, Asian spice, black currants, jammy blackberries, and some licorice and graphite, the wine has fabulous richness, full-bodied power, and terrific intensity, purity and texture. All of these wines merit serious attention and are great examples of both vintages, demonstrating how close 2007 and 2008 can be in the hands of top winemakers with super terroirs.
 

94 points - 2012 Chardonnay Reserve

I loved the spicy character of the 2012 Chardonnay Reserve. Some tasters may find this cuvée too oaky as it was aged 18 months sur-lie in French oak, but I found it to be nicely proportioned. This beauty comes across like a top-flight Burgundy Bâtard-Montrachet. There is a greenish hue to the color, and the wine cuts a big, fleshy, full-bodied mouthfeel. Big and rich, it is one of the most concentrated and large-scaled 2012 Chardonnays I tasted. Drink it over the next 4-5 years.

93 points - 2010 Chardonnay Reserve

The 2010 Chardonnay Reserve is another striking wine from O’Brien. The sur-lie aging in French oak gives the wine notable breadth and volume, but without masking varietal character. The 2010 Reserve is gorgeous in the way it captures the exuberance of California Chardonnay, but with much more nuance and transparency than is common within this style. Almonds, floral infused honey and nectarines all come alive on the creamy, textured finish. The 2010 is rich, bold and beautiful. I would prefer to enjoy this striking Chardonnay in its exuberant youth. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2016. 

92 points - 2012 Devotion Cabernet Franc

The 2012 Cabernet Franc Devotion is their tiny cuvée of 149 cases of Cabernet Franc. This is a gorgeous Cabernet Franc, and another example of how well this grape can do in selected microclimates and not the valley. Notes of new saddle leather, spice box, blackcurrants and a hint of background oak are all present in the wine. The wine has a medium-bodied mouthfeel and impressive purity and length. Drink it over the next 5-7 years.

92 points - 2010 Devotion Cabernet Franc

The 2010 Cabernet Franc Devotion is another wine that stands out for its textural depth, finesse and sheer polish. There is plenty of varietal character in the glass, something I can’t always say about Napa Valley Cabernet Francs. Grilled herbs, mocha, plums, espresso and cloves are some of the many nuances that all meld together in this deep, fleshy wine. Layers of fruit continue to resonate on what seems like an eternal finish. The ripeness and softness of the tannin suggests the Devotion will drink well pretty much right out of the gate. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2025. 

92 points - 2012 Romance of the Heart Bordeaux Blend

The 2012 Proprietary Red Blend Romance of the Heart is a blend of 81% Merlot and 19% Cabernet Sauvignon. This is pretty serious stuff, with a dense ruby/purple color, lots of créme de cassis, a hint of espresso roast, white chocolate, blackcurrants and black cherries. Quite sexy and to my taste slightly more seductive than the Seduction, this is a full-bodied beauty.

93 points - 2010 Romance of the Heart Bordeaux Blend

The juiciest of dark raspberries, cloves, mint and freshly cut roses flow from the 2010 Red Blend Romance of the Heart. This supple, inviting wine possesses gorgeous depth and richness, all in a silky style that makes it approachable today. The 2010 firms up with time in the glass, but it remains quite polished and approachable for the year. Sweet herbal notes from the Cabernet Franc appear on the finish, adding further complexity and character. The Red Blend is Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2020. 

94 points - 2010 Seduction Bordeaux Blend

The 2010 Red Blend Seduction is one of the darker, richer wines in this range. Here, too, the tannins are quite silky and polished, making the wine quite enjoyable even at this early stage. Violets, mocha and cloves are layered into the rich, sumptuous finish. The appropriately named Seduction is indeed very hard to resist. I imagine it will be even better in another year or two, once some of the baby fat drops off. The blend is Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2025. 
 

94 points - 2008 Seduction Bordeaux Blend

This estate doesn’t make things easy, with two more proprietary wines called Seduction. Another dense purple wine, the 2008 Seduction displays blueberries, spring flowers, and creme de cassis in a beautifully scented style. Silky smooth, “seductive,” rich, and opulent, this altogether hedonistic and intellectual turn-on should be drunk over the next decade. 

All three Merlots come from the southern Oak Knoll section of Napa Valley and all three are brilliant efforts that are as good as Merlot can be. Two more winners from O’Brien are their proprietary reds called Romance of The Heart, both blends of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. O’Brien’s flagship wines (again from their holdings in the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley) are the 2007 and 2008 Unrestrained Reserve.

94 points - 2007 Seduction Bordeaux Blend

The 2007 Seduction exhibits more graphite, licorice, black currant, and blackberry, with some floral underpinnings. I don’t like it better or worse than the 2008. Slightly more restrained, this gorgeous, medium to full-bodied wine is another impressive example of Napa viticulture at an attractive price point.