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Inte-gra-tion I Our 97 Score Awarded Robert Parker Wine Advocate

 Wayne O’Connell and Gabrielle Leonhard O’Connell, Vintners

Announcement: 97 score awarded to O’Connell Family Wines

Inte-gra-tion I Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate Grown

by Robert Parker Wine Advocate, Lisa Perrotti-Brown

Since 2005, we have been holding back select barrels of vintages to produce a multi-vintage Cabernet Sauvignon to be an ultimate statement of a wine focused on the sense of place and the pure expression of the Cabernet Sauvignon grape, organically grown, made with a minimalistic winemaking philosophy, and embracing artistic blending. We are very pleased that our vision was well received.

Inte-gra-tion I

An expression of our style to its ultimate complexity of winemaking and blending. It includes our very first vintage, 2005, and subsequent select vintages up to 2014. The 2005 vintage was in barrel for almost 12 years; its color, depth and complexity was so fabulous that I decided to bottle one barrel as a special release- Barrel One: a single barrel, single vineyard O’Connell Family Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (2005 was our first harvest, hand-picked by myself and Wayne O’Connell, crushed in our driveway, fermented in our garage; made a total of 3 barrels).

Lisa Perrotti-Brown stated in her review in the Robert Parker Wine Advocate that Inte-gra-tion would age until 2047.  This is exciting, given that the wine contains a significant portion of vintages 2005 and 2007. This wine is truly expressing its unique origin.

Our winemaking style focuses on minimalistic intervention with extended aging. The wine remains on its lees during the entire barrel aging process and is allowed to slowly develop over 42 to 48 months. This extended aging is rare in even in Napa Valley, as it requires twice the number of barrels, twice the space for barrel storage and much financial patience! Unhurried aging allows a natural evolution to integrate flavors and results in increased texture. I feel that texture is often an overlooked important component in the wine experience.  It gives so much additional intriguing dimension to the wine.

O’Connell Family Wine Making Story

O’Connell Family Vineyards is in the Oak Knoll Appellation with a distinctive blend of geography- at the toe of Mt. Veeder with rich alluvial soil and on the bank of Dry Creek providing lean sand and gravel soil.  A historic vineyard dating back to the mid-1800s, it enjoyed recognition by the California Agricultural Commission as the best vineyard land in California. Pronounced different soil structures in close proximity to each other provide diverse flavors and character. Vineyard practices include certified organic status plus biodiversity; I do not believe in a monocrop concept of growing grapes only, so we grow olives, lavender, various herbs, stone fruits, and edible flowers. We strive to enlist the help of mother nature to attract a diversity of bugs, birds and bees to support vineyard health. Grapes harvested in the very small lots, fermented separately and aged separately, allows every vineyard sub-block block? to express its own unique character. In addition, I have insisted on retaining our signature allée of eucalyptus trees that border the edge of the vineyard. Because they influence a very small percentage of the vineyard and is harvested separately, I use it as an artistic accent. This block provides character and is an effective statement of our terroir and estate history. I believe in uniqueness and authenticity to the site with unhurried winemaking.

Wayne O’Connell, co-founder of O’Connell Family Wines and I foster a team approach to wine production. Our winemaking style is achieved with input from Mitch Cosentino, renown winemaking consultant in Napa Valley and Mark Neal of Jack Neal & Sons, organic vineyard management specialist.

We do not often submit our estate Cabernet Sauvignon for scores. Our production is small and our following loyal. But when I do, the results have been consistent: Double Gold & Gold- San Francisco International Wine Competition; Gold- San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

Wayne and Gabrielle O'ConnellFounders and Vintners O’Connell Family Wines

Wayne O’Connell & Gabrielle Leonhard O’Connell

Wayne & Gabrielle

Robert Parker scorecard, with description of wine and showing a score of 97


Review Copy The Wine Advocate

Release Price


Drink Date

2020 – 2047

Reviewed by

 Lisa Perrotti-Brown

Issue Date

29th Oct 2018


Mid-October 2018 New Releases, The Wine Advocate

The NV Cabernet Sauvignon Inte+Gra+Tion I is a multi-vintage Cabernet Sauvignon from Oak Knoll that includes vintages from 2005 to 2014. Deep garnet colored with a hint of brick, it has a very spicy, mature nose of tobacco, earth, Chinese five spice, incense and tree bark with a core of preserved plums, figs and prunes. The palate is medium to full-bodied, rich, concentrated and very spicy. It’s evolved, complex and perfumed, finishing very long. This is a unique style, adeptly done!