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
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.
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.
Founders and Vintners O’Connell Family Wines
Wayne O’Connell & Gabrielle Leonhard O’Connell
Review Copy The Wine Advocate
2020 – 2047
29th Oct 2018
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!