A Serious Red with Frilly Packaging

O'Brien Family Seduction Napa Valley 2003
Dana Nigro
Posted: March 18, 2009

A few years ago, I wrote a news piece about new wine brands targeted at women. Among them was O'Brien Estate's Seduction, a Napa Valley Bordeaux-style blend that came in a sheer red, lingerielike bag. The label features a big gold "O" on the front and the following text on the back: "Romance of the heart/passion of the soul/A voluptuous wine/with sensual flavors/Enjoy in good company."

Despite the fervid prose and frilly packaging, the wine inside is quite serious. It's made from Oak Knoll District Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot and aged in French oak. Indeed, in blind tastings, James Laube has rated Seduction very good to outstanding for three consecutive vintages. Co-owner Bart O'Brien said he didn't want to create something overtly aimed at women, but was trying to connect aesthetically to how women think of wine as being about creating a shared emotional moment. The bottle does have strong visual and tactile appeal.

I recently opened a bottle of the 2003 vintage, to see how it was aging, and served it with rosemary-scented lamb (a classic match for Bordeaux) over pasta. Harmonious with the dish, the wine was full of plum, cherry, blackberry, currant and cracked black pepper aromas and flavors, with hints of oak and chocolate on the finish. Supple, with soft tannins, it had good acidity and should hold up well for a couple more years. 88 points, non-blind. It sold for $28 on release, and prices have risen somewhat for subsequent vintages.

O'Brien Family Seduction Napa Valley 2003 (89, $28)

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