At Goldschmidt Vineyards we have long-term contracts with five different vineyards sites in the Oakville Appellation.

One of the sites we work with that is so completely unique, intense, and outside-of-the-box, is our Game Ranch vineyard site, a site perched on the only little knoll in the middle of the Oakville appellation. The vineyard is named (Game Ranch) for the fish hatchery next door.

We make two wines that hail from this vineyard and I’ve been working with this vineyard now for twenty years which, I think, proves that it’s one of my favorites!

What makes this site so exciting?

It’s located on a small knoll, or round hill, smack in the middle of the Oakville appellation. The vineyard faces north, north east which means that it’s the coolest location in the valley. This gives the vines an ideal combination of morning sun for a longer ripening period in addition to the soil drainage benefits that hillside vineyards benefit from and that contribute to hillside vineyard wines’ intensity.

I recently went back through some of our Oakville appellation wines from 2015 and 2016, and tasting through these really took me back to these two wonderful but different years in the Napa Valley.

2015

The fourth vintage in a string of outstanding Cabernet seasons, the 2015 vintage was more in line with 2014 & 2016.  Drier seasons produce smaller berries & higher skin-to-pulp ratios; ripeness was king in 2015. Wines from 2015 also showed great acidity and plush, silky, tannins-classic Oakville character! Like other recent vintages, the summer was warm and we picked a little early under clear, blue, sunny skies.

2016

Similar to 2014 & 2015, the 2016 is another fine vintage in a string of great vintages dating back to 2010.  Like previous years, the 2016 vintage was early with yields coming in slightly lower than normal but bigger than 2014 & 2015.  The season was even and received more water, thanks to a great winter of rain in 2015.  The cool nights really put this exceptional vintage over the top.

Oakville Game Ranch 2016 – 92 Points: Wine Enthusiast

Sourced from the eastern-end of Oakville Cross Rd, the soils here transition from volcanic red clay to brown, gravelly loam. This is the only knoll within the valley itself. The soil offers exceptionally good drainage which controls vigor, produces smaller berries and ultimately wines with deeper concentration. Soil water-holding capacity is sufficient enough to prevent dehydration, thus protecting the critical fruit flavor-to-alcohol balance.

Winemaking:

Wild yeast and 50 days on skins. Racked for great natural clarity. No acid or nutrients added. 80% new French oak and aged for over 2 years.

Tasting Notes:

Deep red with an intense purple hue. Black cherry, violet, and vanilla nose. The palate follows again with black cherry and dark plum. These dark fruits balance perfectly with the sumptuous, The finish has supple, round tannins with a massive amount of fruit.

Oakville Game Ranch 2015 – 95 Points: Tasting Panel / 94 Points: Sunset Magazine

Sourced from the eastern-end of Oakville Cross Rd, the soils here transition from volcanic red clay to brown, gravelly loam. They offer exceptionally good drainage which controls vigor, produces smaller berries and ultimately wines with deeper concentration. Soil water-holding capacity is sufficient enough to prevent dehydration, thus protecting the critical fruit flavor-to-alcohol balance. Goldschmidt Game Ranch shows gorgeous fruit, ripe tannins, and savory minerality.

Tasting Notes:

Deep red with an intense purple hue. Black cherry, violet, and licorice nose. The palate follows again with black cherry and dark plum. These dark fruits balance perfectly with the sumptuous, French oak.  The finish has supple, round tannins with a massive amount of fruit.