“Wine a bit – you’ll feel better!” There’s certainly no shortage of tasting rooms in downtown Napa Valley, but the sign outside Uncorked at Oxbow Public Market lured me in. From the funny sign to friendly wine aficionado Tom pouring tasting glasses to open mic nights, fun sets Uncorked apart from other tasting rooms in Napa.
It was a quiet Sunday morning when I wandered into Uncorked and Tom was more than happy to welcome me in. Provocative, Carducci, and Ahnfeldt wines are on offer on the tasting menu. Tom got me started with what ended up being my favorite wine of the tasting, a 2010 Provocative Chardonnay, which comes from the St. James Vineyard in the Carneros area of Napa Valley. It was barrel fermented and then aged in French oak before being bottled in 2011. It was nearly 90°F on my visit and the Chardonnay was refreshing in the summer heat.
I also tried the 2011 Carducci Pinot Grigio, but found it a little too tart and dry. Moving into the reds, I found the 2009 Provocative Cabernet Sauvignon…well, provocative! It’s a delicious red blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Syrah, 4% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot, and 2% Merlot. Tom told me the grapes were all hand picked in 2009, fermented in stainless steel tanks, and then aged for 20 months in French Oak. The taste is full of fruit with hints of the oak. It pairs well with barbecue and burgers for a summer picnic.
My final wine was the award winning 2007 Ahnfeldt Merlot, which claims to be the best in Napa Valley. Bruce Ahnfedlt and Celeste Carducci, owners of Uncorked as well as wine makers, take pride that about 80% of their vines are more than 20 years old. All of the grapes for their Merlot come from their own St. Helena and Yountville vineyards and go through an extensive pressing and aging process to ensure no bottle shocked wine ever reaches their customers. The Merlot is big, bold, and delicious!
Tom is definitely in the know. Not only did he serve me the best wines to taste, he made an excellent recommendation for lunch sending me right across the street to Oxbow Public Market for some of the best tacos around.
Know Before You Go
- A Tier 1 tasting with 5 wines is $10 and the tasting fee is waived with a purchase. And additional 4 premium wines can be added to the tasting for $20.
- Barrel tasting is also available for $25.
- The 2010 Provocative Chardonnay and 2009 Provocative Cabernet Sauvignon retail for $28 per bottle and the 2007 Ahnfeldt Merlot retails for $39 per bottle.