Silver Oak Cellars in the Napa Valley is a very attractive venue for lovers of delicious cult Cabernet Sauvignon. The winery has been on Oakville Cross Road since 1972 but the present winery and tasting room were rebuilt after a devastating fire in 2006. Before that time it was barely on the tourist track. That fire gave the winery a new life-blood and the opportunity to make major upgrades to the winery including a very attractive hospitality center. Since the rebuild, the winery has become a popular spot among wine travelers to the Napa Valley. The winery is a Cabernet specialist, so if you are looking for a Chardonnay, Zinfandel, or a bargain Cabernet you will be out of luck at Silver Oak. The emphasis here is on high quality Cabernet wines from the Napa Valley and the Alexander Valley. The current release Napa Valley Cabernet is the 2006 vintage priced at $100 for a 750ml bottle. The tasting fee starts at $20 per person.
We visited this winery a week ago last Saturday at a Wine Bloggers Day at Silver Oak. I was very much impressed with the total package at Silver Oak. I enjoyed the presentation by 45 year-old President Dave Duncan. He is very passionate about the winery his father had started. Dave strives to not only make the best possible Cabernet but also preserve the environment and be a responsible employer. The fire of 2006 gave the Duncan Family the unique opportunity to use their 35 years of making Cabernet to their advantage when building their new facility. The winemaking cellar is state-of-the-art and very eco-friendly. The new hospitality center is magnificent and built from hand-made stones from an 1894 building that they found for sale in Coffeeville, Kansas. They transported the stones by railcar from Kansas to build this amazing hospitality center.
I loved listening to the offbeat and jovial winemaker, Daniel Baron, who tells it like it is with a no-holds-barred approach to winemaking. He has been making wine for 41 years so he says he has seen it all. He likes wines that are at the lower end of the alcohol range and very food friendly. There is nothing big and robust about the 2006 Napa vintage we tasted; it is an elegant and beautifully-flavored wine. Daniel uses only American White Oak barrels, no French, for aging the wine. The barrels come from a cooperage located in Higbee, Missouri. The Cabs are released as much as one or two years later than those at the majority of the Napa Valley wineries.
One of the great recent additions to Silver Oak was the hiring of full-time chef Dominic Orsini. He prepares all the food for the food-and-pairing options in the tasting room and for winery events like the Wine Bloggers Day at Silver Oak. For our lunch, Dominic prepared a delicious array of pizzas and an amazing entree of Wagyu beef, all cooked in the outdoor stone oven. The wine that accompanied our lunch was a Merlot from their Twomey Winery in Calistoga and the Cabernet, of course, including a beauty from the 1999 vintage.
The tasting room Hours: Mon-Sat 9am – 5pm, Sun 11am – 5pm. Visitors can choose from a menu of tasting choices including the food pairing, tours of the winery, and vertical tastings. All this information can be found on the Silver Oak Website. Happy tastings.