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Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2003

Cabernet Sauvignon from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
  • WW90
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Winemaker Notes

Number 28 on the Wine.com 100 of 2007!

The Silver Oak Cellars 2003 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is an elegant, highly expressive wine that displays great complexity due to the multifaceted climatic conditions of the harvest season. The wine is dark ruby with a purple to red edge. It displays bright aromas of black cherry, dark chocolate, black tea, allspice and ginger. In the mouth, it has a full-bodied attack, a round, balanced mid-palate redolent of cherry preserves, brown sugar and caramel and an extremely long finish of savory ripe fruit. Properly cellared, it should give drinking pleasure until 2026.

Our 2003 Alexander Valley, a blend of wine from several different vineyards, is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. We blended the vineyard lots in early 2004 and transferred the wine to 50% new and 50% once-used American oak barrels for aging. Blending prior to barreling allows us 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 15 months in bottle to harmonize its components before release.

Critical Acclaim

WW 90
Wilfred Wong of Wine.com

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Silver Oak Alexander Valley

Silver Oak Alexander Valley

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Silver Oak Alexander Valley, , California
Silver Oak Alexander Valley
Great wine is meant to be savored with family and friends. This belief is at the heart of Silver Oak Cellars, where we have crafted extraordinary Cabernet Sauvignon for over 35 years. Designed to be deliciously drinkable from the day it is released, Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon grows more supple and luxurious over time.

Silver Oak's Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is produced at our picturesque Geyserville estate, set amid the rolling hills of northern Sonoma County.

The Tudor-style estate features a massive flagstone arch that leads to a central courtyard with a fountain. High, arched glass doors open on the tasting room with its rustic stone fireplace. Designed to resemble the American oak barrels that are a signature of Silver Oak, the oak tasting bar is accented with steel barrel hoops. Beautifully etched glass doors highlight the stone-lined wine library next door, which contains an enormous oak barrel carved with the Silver Oak logo.

A long and narrow valley producing flavorful red, white, and pink wines...

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A long and narrow valley producing flavorful red, white, and pink wines, the Rhône is bisected by the river of the same name and split into two distinct sub-regions—north and south. While a handful of grape varieties span the entire length of the valley, there are significant differences between the two zones in climate and geography as well as the style and quantity of wines produced. The Northern Rhône, with its continental climate and steep hillside vineyards, is responsible for a mere 5% or less of the greater region’s total output. The Southern Rhône has a much more Mediterranean climate, the aggressive, chilly Mistral wind, and plentiful fragrant wild herbs known collectively as ‘garrigue.’

In the Northern Rhône, the only permitted red variety is Syrah. In the appellations of St.-Joseph, Hermitage, Cornas, and Côte-Rôtie (where up to 20% Viognier may be co-fermented), it produces savory, peppery wines with telltale notes of olive, bacon fat, and smoke. Oily, perfumed whites are made from Viognier in Condrieu and Château-Grillet, while elsewhere only Marsanne and Roussanne are used, with the former providing body and texture and the latter lending nervy acidity. The wines of the Southern Rhône are typically blends, with the reds often based on Grenache and balanced by Syrah, Mourvèdre, and an assortment of other varieties. All three northern white varieties are used here, as well as Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Bourbelenc, and more. The best known sub-regions of the Southern Rhône are the reliable, wallet-friendly Côtes du Rhône and the esteemed Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Others include Gigondas, Vacqueyras, and rosé-only appellation Tavel.

Rhône Blends

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With bold fruit flavors and accents of spice...

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With bold fruit flavors and accents of spice, Rhône red blends originated in France’s Southern Rhône valley and have become popular in Priorat, Washington, South Australia, and California’s Central Coast. In the Rhône itself, 19 grape varieties are permitted for use, but many of these blends, are based on Grenache and supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre, earning the nickname “GSM blends.” Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape are perhaps the best-known outposts for these wines. Other varieties that may be found in Rhône blends include Carignan, Cinsault, and Counoise.

In the Glass

The taste profile of a Rhône blend will vary according to its individual components, as each variety brings something different to the glass. Grenache, which often forms the base of these blends, is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit, a plush texture, and often high levels of alcohol. Syrah supplies darker fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy, and meaty notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume as well as body, tannin, and a healthy dose of color. New World examples will lie further along the fruit-forward end of the spectrum, while those from the Old World taste and smell much earthier, often with a “barnyard” character that is attractive to many fans of these wines.

Perfect Pairings

Rhône red blends typically make for very food-friendly wines. Depending on the weight and alcohol level, these can work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes—they play equally well with beef, pork, duck, lamb, or game. With their high acidity, these wines are best-matched with salty or fatty foods, and can handle the acidity of tomato sauce in pizza or pasta. Braised beef cheeks, grilled lamb sausages, or roasted squab are all fine pairings.

Sommelier Secret

Some regions like to put their own local spin on the Rhône red blend—for example, in Australia’s Barossa Valley, Shiraz is commonly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to add structure, tannin, and a long finish. Grenache-based blends from Priorat often include Carignan (known locally as Cariñena) and Syrah, but also international varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, anything goes, and it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or even Tempranillo make an appearance.

JCZALEXANDER_2003 Item# 91865

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