Silver Oak 2003 Napa Valley is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. It was blended in early 2004 and transferred to 100% new American oak barrels for aging. Silver Oak blends prior to barreling to achieve a balance of the wine's natural elements, such as fruit and tannin, before they are influenced by oak. The wine is then aged in barrel for approximately 25 months and another 20 months in bottle to harmonize its components before release.
The 2003 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a complex and concentrated wine that deftly balances intensity and finesse. The wine has a dark garnet color with a deep purple edge, and displays aromas of blackberry jam, dark chocolate, rose petal, black pepper and cedar. In the mouth, the attack is quite rich, expressing notes of brown sugar and nutmeg, and the flavors proceed seamlessly to a long finish of fruit and ripe tannins. Properly cellared, this wine should give drinking pleasure until 2027.
Silver Oak Napa Valley Winery
Silver Oak Cellars was started in 1972 with a simple driving philosphy - to focus production on only one varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon. What's more, they resolved to create a wine with a style all its own: not another hard, tannic red wine requiring years of aging to enjoy, but a wine of fully developed flavors and a velvety soft texture on the day it is released for sale.
Silver Oak Cellars produces Cabernet Sauvignon from two appellations. Their Napa Valley derives its fruit from both owned and contracted vineyards, and is produced entirely at their Oakville winery. Beginning in 1994, small amounts of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot have been included in their Napa blend to add complexity and softness.
Silver Oak also produces stellar Cabernet from their Alexander Valley vineyards. A critical reason for the success of this wine, and every wine they make, has always been that they create the final blend before aging it in American oak barrels and then bottles. Over the course of four-and-a-half years, the wine’s flavors, aromas, and textures have an opportunity to meld with one another and the wood’s delicate qualities to create the kind of graceful cohesion found only in the world's most elegant wines.
View all Silver Oak Napa Valley Wines
It's hard not to think of Napa Valley when thinking of California wines. The region is, after all, the one that brought world recognition to California wine making. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux Blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Within the Napa Valley lie smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two is St.-Helena and finally, just granted an AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap and Mount Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
No doubt Silver Oak produces good to great Cabs, but i was slightly dissappointed with the lack of overall profundity in the 2003. Still tastes good though, smooth/balanced, but seemed a bit weaker in consistency and finish when considering both current price and greatness of some Silver Oak heritage vintages i have savored. I say 3 and 1/2 stars for this 03 - not saying i wouldn't buy again - am saying i might buy a case of Caymus before restocking this one.
I am surprised that the previous reviewer was less impressed on this one. I found this to be one of my favorite Cabs of all time. I am very sparing with my 5 star ratings, and I adored this Cab...to the degree that I just bought another bottle today. We drank this for my birthday this weekend (we did a tasting assortment), and this was the best of the best of the day - very complex and intense, with an incredible balance of fruit and spice, and a fabulous finish. Boy, did I have a happy tongue with this one! :)
This was my first experience with a Silver Oak Cabernet and one that I hope can continue for a lifetime. We've had some excellent Stags Leap and Martha's Vineyard this holiday season but truly this was a taste experience. The finish lasted forever. This dense full bodied vintage reminded me of nutmeg and blackberry. If you can find this in stock, buy it.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.