2/4/08

The Cult of the Oak


The Silver Oak…

Several years ago, in my formative wine appreciation years, I was invited by some good friends to go to a wine release party at Silver Oak vineyards in the Napa Valley. While I had greatly enjoyed several bottles of this cabernet sauvignon by then, I had not experienced the fever for this wine that inhabited so many oenophiles. The crowd of people and the accompanying buzz in the air was more reminiscent of a rock concert rather than a simple wine tasting and release party.

Consider the Connoisseur impressed..!

The next step, once my interest was piqued, was to gather a few nuggets of information about this winery.

The origin: Landowner Ray Duncan began working with co-founder and winemaker Justin Meyer in the early 70s and the Silver Oak – Alexander Valley cabernet was born. The first vintage of Silver Oak Napa Valley was from 1979.

The wine philosophy was geared towards creating a Cabernet that had excellent structure and quality, yet was approachable at its release, unlike many of France’s Bordeaux counterparts, and would still hold up well over time. It is this “approachability” that I believe made Silver Oak what it is today, giving it the chance to appeal to a wider variety of tastes.

Is Silver Oak cabernet still a true cult wine? Most purists would answer that question with a no, due to the ever larger production and widespread knowledge of this wine. However, after attending a release party for the 2003 Napa Valley Cabernet at my favorite wine shop located well outside of the Napa Valley, I say the Cult of the Oak is still in full swing.

And just to let you know, the Silver Oak 2003 Napa Valley gets a recommended rating from the Connoisseur. A touch more structure and complexity are present than was in the 2002, giving it a bit more life on the taste buds. As its creators intended, you can drink this wine now or cellar it for consumption in the years to come.

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