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Blue streak

Saddleback Cellars

Legendary Winemaker, Unpretentious Winery in Oakville, California

San Francisco Wine Tours

Napa Valley & Sonoma Wine Tasting Tours

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Nils Venge, the winemaker and owner of Saddleback Winery, is a legendary figure around Napa Valley.
Saddleback Cellars wine tasting and winery entranceOne major reason: the 1985 Groth Vineyards Cabernet Reserve that he created was the first American wine ever awarded 100 points by influential wine critic Robert Parker.
Another reason is his masterful work with Cabernet Sauvignon in general, which has earned him the nickname “King of Cabernet.”
But, then, he’s equally adept with Merlot, Chardonnay, and Zinfandel, and over the years has consulted to many premier California wineries such as Plumpjack, Envy, Del Dotto and Robert Keenan. Above all, Venge is renowned for the wines produced at his own Saddleback Cellars.
Saddleback Cellars tasting room in the wineryIf you’re seeking glitz and glamour on your Napa winery visit, then you’d best go elsewhere: Saddleback makes no pretense to either.
Instead, it offers generous amounts of honest rustic charm and one of the most intimate, down-to-earth winery tastings imaginable. In clear weather you’ll be outside amidst the vines, probably sitting around a picnic table with your own tasting pourer—who will be happy to answer questions and fill you in on the wine-making process.
On rainy days, the tasting occurs inside the working winery, surrounded by barrels.

Fascinating Fact:

Saddleback Cellars winery entrance signThe winery was named after Saddleback Mountain near Venge’s birthplace in Orange County.
Amenities: Wine Club, Picnic Tables
Founded: 1982
Signature Wines: Syrah, Zinfandel, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Gewurtztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc
Wine Tasting: By appointment only
Hours: Daily, 10–4
Saddleback Cellars
7802 Money Road
Oakville, CA 94562
707-944-1305
website: www.saddlebackcellars.com

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Suzie Rodriguez writes about travel, food, and wine from her home in the wine-country town of Sonoma, California. You can follow her travels and musings at The Culinary Gadabout.

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