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Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
  • WE91
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Winemaker Notes

This 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a complex and layered expression of California Cabernet. The wine has a dark garnet color and is bursting with fruit even as it is poured. It has a nose of cassis, violets, licorice, allspice and roasting coffee. On the palate, it has an extraordinarily rich attack, a satin texture and an exuberant expression of fruit on the mid-palate that comes from picking grapes at the peak of their ripeness. The wine finishes with notions of savory umami, and fruit with a medium tannic grip. Given proper cellaring, this wine should give drinking pleasure through 2032.

Blend: 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot

Critical Acclaim

WE 91
Wine Enthusiast

It's easy to see why Silver Oak remains so popular with the restaurant crowd. It's made in a more restrained style than many other Napa Cabs. There's plenty of berry and currant fruit as well as oak, but it's accompanied by tobacco and herbs that give the wine an earthiness. What the wine lacks in dazzle it more than makes up for in elegance and subtlety. Cellar Selection.

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Silver Oak Napa Valley

Silver Oak Napa Valley

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Silver Oak Napa Valley, , California
Silver Oak Napa Valley
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.

One of the most iconic regions of Italy for wine, scenery, and history, Tuscany is the world’s most important outpost for the Sangiovese grape. Ranging in style from fruity and simply to complex and age-worthy, as well as in price from budget-friendly to ultra-premium, Sangiovese makes up a significant percentage of plantings here, with the white Trebbiano Toscano trailing far behind. Within Tuscany, many esteemed wines are produced in their respective sub-zones, including Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Bolgheri, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. The climate is Mediterranean and the topography consists mostly of picturesque rolling hills, with the hillside locations hosting the best vines, as Sangiovese ripens most efficiently with maximum exposure to sunlight.

Sangiovese at its simplest, often carrying a regional designation of Chianti or just Italy, produces straightforward pizza-friendly wines with bright red fruit and not much more, but at its best it shows remarkable complexity. In top-quality Sangiovese-based wines, expressive notes of sour cherry, balsamic vinegar, dried herbs, leather, fresh earth, dried flowers, anise, tobacco smoke, and cured meat fill the glass. Brunello in particular is sensitive to vintage variation, performing best in years that are not too hot and not too cold. A more recent phenomenon as of the 1970s is the “Super Tuscan”—a wine made from international grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, or Syrah, often grown in Tuscany’s Bolgheri region, with or without Sangiovese. These tend to be big, bold, and modern in style, often with noticeable new oak, and sold at super-premium prices.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington, and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde river, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful, and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb, or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

AMR61629_2008 Item# 122157

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