Here at Wine Express, we strive to uncover hidden gems in the wine world. And with so many wines being produced throughout the world the hunt can be challenging! A couple of years ago we found a label that made it easy… in the 29 & Oak Napa Cabernet. We tasted it and fell in love… and more importantly you did too! Since that original offering we have brought in their red blend and two of their Cabs with each one receiving better reviews than the last. It quickly became one of our customers’ favorite California wineries. We decided to go right to the source in California to check out exactly how they were making such great juice at amazingly affordable prices.
First off, 29 & Oak is a wine label offering some of the best expression of Napa terroir out there, sometimes in a single appellation. However it is not a vineyard or a winery. What does that mean? It means their very talented winemaker Trevor Sheehan doesn’t have to worry about owning a vineyard or winery, not yet anyway. He is able to work with growers and vineyards to obtain grapes and/or juice and can focus his efforts on creating stunning, complex and pleasing wines without the huge overhead costs. And when he is not crafting small lots of stellar juice for these cult wineries, he and his wife are working in their highly acclaimed new wine bar, The Corner Napa. I was fortunate enough to visit them on a day they were bottling one of his latest creations (hopefully something coming to Wine Express shortly) to witness the final bottling phase at the warehouse. It is really an impressive sight to see the amount of equipment and manpower that is required in order to get this tremendous juice from barrel, to tank, to bottle, to case, to pallet and on the truck until it finally arrives to your front door.
Most of the time he and his team are able to utilize one of the vineyards or wineries where he is obtaining grapes for most of his blending, but the finishing touches are handled right here. Whether it’s a final blending barrel or tank, or filtration as needed, once he is happy with the final product it goes into one of these massive stainless steel tanks. What is extremely impressive is how thorough the cleaning process is for every piece of equipment used in the process. Wine integrity is of the utmost importance in this establishment, which is why some of the best known wines in the region use this very same facility for bottling and labeling (think former Prisoner owners).
During my visit I was able to sample some of the pure juice that they have obtained for future wine blends, meaning they were directly out of the shipment vessel before they barely had a chance to sit in oak or stainless post fermentation. Let’s just say with what I sampled we have a lot to be excited about in the year ahead from these guys. It is this sort of experience that gives us pride in the wines we choose to bring to our customers, as we want to ensure that only truly quality wines are offered through Wine Express. Fortunately this is something that the folks at 29 & Oak and their other affiliated labels understand just as well, which makes for a wonderful wine partnership.
Stay tuned for more from 29 & Oak! Have you tasted the 29 & Oak Proprietary Red or their Napa or Oakville bottlings? Leave a comment and share your experience!