Iconic winery’s Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ages slowly in American oak.
Celebrated Silver Oak releases only two wines a year, both Cabernet-heavy Bordeaux blends. The grapes for the Napa Valley one, produced at the Oakville location, come from estate and other sources within the appellation. The other wine hails from Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley. At tastings you can ponder the idiosyncrasies of Silver Oak’s approach. The winery uses only American oak for its barrels, not French, as so many of its counterparts do, and after a wine’s time in barrel, usually at least two years, it spends well more than a year aging in bottle. The 2017 Napa Valley Cabernet, for instance, wasn’t released until February 2022.
Silver Oak’s main hospitality space, constructed of stone from a 19th-century Kansas flour mill and completed in 2008, contains a refrigerated glass-enclosed “library” of older vintages. The winery offers four tastings. At the Silver Oak Tasting, you can sample the two current releases plus a library wine. A deeper dive, the Napa and Alexander Valley Comparative Tasting, showcases six vintages of either Napa Valley (offered from February through July) or Alexander Valley (August through January) wines. A third tasting includes the two current Cabernets and Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir from sister winery Twomey Cellars. Lastly, longtime winery chef Dominic Orsini prepares seasonal dishes for pairing with Twomey and Silver Oak wines.
Silver Oak Trivia
Silver Oak’s name comes from its location, near the Silverado Trail in the town of Oakville.
How impressions (and prices) have changed since Silver Oak’s first review: “Unfortunately, Sliver Oak’s first vintage was 1972, one of the poorest Red wine vintages in the Napa Valley in the past decade. Even so, the ’72 Cabernet from Silver Oak is a very fine Claret, even if it is a bit overpriced at $6 per bottle.” The Cabernet’s current edition sells for nearly 25 times that price.
Silver Oak’s website has more information about the winery’s history and evolution.
Why go: celebrated winery; vertical tasting experience.
Silver Oak appears in 10 Foolproof Napa Valley Cabernet Tasting Experiences.
This story originally appeared online in 2017; it was updated in 2022.