Raymond Twomey Duncan first visited the Napa Valley in the late 1960’s. Taken by the area’s rugged beauty and the potential of its fledgling wine industry he purchased orchards, pastures and vineyards throughout the Napa and Alexander Valleys. Looking for an insider to advise him, Ray approached Justin Meyer in 1972, asking him to plant and manage his vineyards. Then a winemaker for the Christian Brothers, Justin agreed under the condition that they create a winery that would forever raise the standards of California wine. Silver Oak Cellars was born.
Ray and Justin had a bold vision for their winery. Rather than producing six or seven varietals, they would devote all their resources to producing a single wine: Cabernet Sauvignon. What is more, their wine would be a new style of Cabernet Sauvignon, rich and complex yet deliciously drinkable from the day it was released.
In 1972, Silver Oak’s Alexander Valley vineyards produced the harvest that would become their first Cabernet Sauvignon. Seven years later, they harvested the grapes for their first Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, now produced as a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varietals. From the beginning, these two wines have consistently represented the very best of their appellations, attracting a loyal following around the world.
Silver Oak’s estate vineyards are complemented with grapes from top independent growers throughout both appellations, giving the winemaking team the flexibility they need to realize the full potential of each Silver Oak vintage. The core of the Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon comes from the Soda Canyon vineyard, a marvelous hillside site with tightly spaced vines planted in rocky, well-drained soils. The lushly flavoured wines from this vineyard provide a rich foundation for the Napa blend. The Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is drawn predominantly from the three Alexander Valley estate vineyards and reflects a blend of their characteristics. The rich cassis and berry flavours of wines from the Miraval vineyard are balanced by the bright, black cherry aromas and firm acidity of wines from the Red Tail vineyard. The serpentine soils of the Geyserville vineyard yield wines with a black-pepper spiciness that adds zest to the final blend.
In the early 1970’s, Silver Oak was one of the first California wineries to age its wines in American oak rather than French oak. Justin Meyer discovered that American contributed fewer harsh tannins than French oak and had a fresh, spicy character that provided a wonderful complement to his fruit-forward wines. Today, the use of American oak continues to be a hallmark of these distinctive Cabernet Sauvignons.