Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Silver Oak Cellars Revisited

Founded in 1972 on a former dairy farm, Silver Oak Cellars produces only Cabernet Sauvignon. They are located in Oakville on the Oakville Cross Road. Most of the main building was destroyed in a fire in 2006 and had to be rebuilt, although the old wooden tower still remains. It's a great place to visit for a tasting or tour. No appointment is required for the tasting alone.

Silver Oak Cellars tower

Silver Oak Cellars is famous for their Cabs with generous oak and are noted for using American oak instead of French. Frequently found in restaurants and stores, it is one of the most popular premium Cabs in the U.S.  They have a very devoted following, and I've always enjoyed their wines, but not everyone likes this style of Cab. The first case of wine I ever bought was in 1977 and was of the 1973 vintage of Silver Oak Cab. It had gone up from $6 from the first release of the 1972 vintage to $8 a bottle but was still a bargain even then. I have been visiting and buying their wines ever since but no longer by the case. This is a winery for serious cab lovers who like the Silver Oak style of Cab.

Silver Oak Cellars building

Our tasting began with the Silver Oak Cellars 2008 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon at $70, which is 100% Cab.  It has an excellent aroma of vanilla and blackberries, mostly blackberry with some herbaceousness on the palate with good structure and grip, very nice tannins, along with a good finish. It seemed to me to be a classic Silver Oak presentation.  It is fine to drink now but should improve with cellaring.  Next was the Silver Oak Cellars 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, that is 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc and sells for $100.  I got a lot of cherry and some cedar on the nose.  It was softer and smoother than the Alexander Valley, with very nice fruit, mostly cherry, on the palate. It is very drinkable now.  The final tasting was a Silver Oak Cellars 2003 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.  After a bright cherry aroma, I got black cherry with some cedar and forest floor on the palate and a long finish.  I liked all three Cabs. My friend had a strong preference for the Anderson Valley one and purchased some.

Tasting room entry

Tasting bar

If you love Cabs and have not tasted a Silver Oak Cellars Cab, you really should.  If you are already familiar with their style of Cab and like it, then they will already be on your radar for a visit if you are in Napa Valley.  You may opt for just a tasting or a tour followed by a tasting.  I opted for a tour one time and enjoyed it but now just visit for tastings.

Tasting room wines

Silver Oak Cellars vineyard

915 Oakville Cross Rd.
Oakville, CA 94562
Date of visit: November 7, 2012

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