I was totally blown away byt the inaugural 2005 vintage of the estate wine from Ovid in Napa Valley. Since then, I’ve tasted both the 2005 and the 2006 vintages on several occasions. Every time, tasted open or blind, my impression stands – Ovid is a great site for vines, and a truly impressive wine. This second vintage is a blend of 43 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 41 percent Cabernet Franc (which thrives just perfectly in the reddish volcanic soil and high altitude on Pritchard Hill). The rest is a balance of Merlot and Petit Verdot.
The team behind this outstanding winery is owners Dana Johnson and Mark Nelson, and the superstar trio of winemaker Andy Erickson, viticulturist David Abreu and consultant Michel Rollad.
2006 Ovid / 95 p
This baby is so young, color is dark purple and almost opaque. On the nose it’s initially a bit closed, although it’s packed with dark, ripe and an almost sweet cassis and cherry fruit – but it is massive in the way that the deliscious and fragrant aromas of violets, sour cherries and the stony minerialty of the volcanic soil is almost totally covered. Therefore, I let the wine sit in the decanter for another hour, and then two hours, to open up and reveal those finer notes. The oak is there, sweetish and slightly toasted, but still very well integrated. To achieve that, you need the highest quality of fruit and barrels, and the wisdom to use the oak in a smart way. I think that Andy Erickson does that. One could easily expect this wine to be heavy and sweet on the palate, and of course it’s rich and very intense, the with a lively to fresh acidity, huge but ripe tannins, and a thickeling saltiness of minerality, I find the overall impression to be extraordinary well balansced and elegant. The fruit is at first somehow sweetish, with both blackberries and cassis, but the sweetness is held back a bit, and even the oak is extremely well in tune with all other components. Balance is the key word here. It’s an impressive wine with a very promising life, which if kept in a good way will evolve to give pleasure for another 10-15 years, and for those who enjoys fully mature wines, even longer that that. Decanting is recommended, at least the two hours I did at first, but even when I tasted the wine the day after, it was very enjoyable – the fruit was the a bit more elegant with lovely notes of black currants and sour cherries. Drink it 2014-2031.