Diamond Oaks is a relative new-comer to the Napa Valley wine scene. Located on the edge of a mountain up the Oakville Grade, the building facilities was once better known as Vichon (a Mondavi project) – and, for a short while, La Famiglia (another Mondavi project).
Indian-born Dinesh Maniar is the current proprietor. Having already acquired numerous Napa and Sonoma vineyards, the acquisition of this property from the Mondavis was a jewel in his wine-bedecked crown. By all accounts from those who work with him, Maniar is an introspective, unassuming gentleman who has made some very impressive improvements to the property.
The tasting room, when it was La Famiglia, was known for the hand-painted wall-sized mural. That was the only aspect of the original hospitality area that Maniar retained. The building was slightly retrofitted to accommodate much-needed windows for light, new marble floors, and elegant lighting fixtures (selected by Dinesh himself).
Of special note is the picturesque picture area. Undoubtedly one of the most stunning views of the valley, for a mere $30.00, the winery will reserve a table, provide a bottle of wine and glasses, and place a checkered tablecloth to await your culinary delight. Corkpulls are strategically dangled from the trees, just in case you forget…
2001 Chalk Hill Chardonnay – Maniar owns 95 acres of Chalk Hill vineyards. This 100% malo chard is fruit forward, with intense lemon and tropical fruit aromas. Initial flavors are fruit forward with lemon and a hint of cream. The finish shows nuts, oak, and a touch of butter. $29.00
2001 Reserve Carneros Chardonnay - Another 100% malo, but this one has seen 100% French oak. Rich, full, layered offering with a tropical bouquet surrounding a core of butterscotch. Flavors dance between lemon meringue and clean pear. $39.00
2003 Carneros Pinot Noir – Simple aromas of cherry, licorice, and earth in the nose. Bigger fruit flavors explodes in the mouth, counter to the thinner bouquet. Tight and young, earth and licorice dominate. $19.00
2002 Silver Carneros Merlot – Deep tones of green olive, rich earth, and some cherry. Richer fruit flavors of solid dark fruit, a mid-palate of toast, finishes with a tease of eucalyptus. $17.00
2002 Hira Ranch Merlot, Carneros – 70% French oak, 20% of that is new – the other 30% is American oak. Dark chocolate and tobacco qualities in the nose. Initially soft and supple upon entry, dark berry and earthy qualities become rich and complex on the finish. $29.00
2003 Cabernet, Alexander Valley – (Wine Club only). A pre-release tasting is still a bit green with tons of rustic herbs and cherry. Gobs of chocolate mint on the nice, lingering finish. No price.
Diamond Oaks ~ 1595 Oakville Grade ~ Oakville ~ CA ~ 94562 ~ 707-948-3000