A Beautiful Marriage of Oakville and Stags Leap District

Today’s Story: Futo Wines

Futo Wines was founded in 2002 by Tom and Kyle Futo when they purchased Oakford Vineyards. Futo started as a 40 acre property with 7 acres planted under vine in the hills of Oakville, though Tom and Kyle added an adjoining 117 acres in 2004. This new property resulted in the addition of 6 acres of vineyards that were planted under the direction of famed viticulturist David Abreu and winemaker Mark Aubert. 2004 also marked the first vintage of Futo Wines, 80 cases of the Futo Oakville bottling. The winery was not yet completed, however, but was finished in 2008 in time to receive that vintage’s harvest. Late in 2011, Futo expanded yet again with the purchase of 40 acres in the Stags Leap District that included 9 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon planted in 1986. This estate vineyard allows for a more efficient marriage of Oakville and Stags Leap fruit to produce the OV/SL bottling.

I had the privilege of visiting Futo and tasting with Daniel Ha back in September, and this was one of my favorite visits during my trip. We took a tour of the property, including the winery, before sitting down inside to taste the 2012 OV/SL and 2014 Oakville bottlings. These are both delicious wines full of power and complexity, while also displaying the unique terroirs of Oakville and the Stags Leap District. All of the farming at Futo is done by hand and vineyard management is 100% in-house which helps provide consistency across vintages yet constant improvement. Jason Exposto’s winemaking style is focused on restraint rather than influence, another excellent facet of the experience when tasting Futo’s wines.

Today’s Wine: 2012 OV/SL

75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 8% Petit Verdot; 14.7% ABV

The 2012 OV/SL is an opaque medium to deep ruby color. I let this decant for about an hour before drinking. Once the wine opens up, the nose showcases aromas of blackberry, plum, graphite, tobacco, red meat, smoke, earth, chocolate, and oak. When this wine hits the palate, I get notes of blackberry, blueberry, black raspberry, cedar, cigar box, loamy earth, slight iron, green herbs, and forest floor. This wine is full-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium tannins, and a long finish. 880 cases produced.

Price: $200 (but $250 direct from the winery). Certainly not a cheap bottle of wine, but everything I’ve tried from Futo is outstanding. If you can find this for a deal retail, it’s certainly worth trying. Pair this with steak.

The wine cellar at Futo.

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