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Copyright © 2015
by Fred McMillin
Silver Oak Cabs are wholly seductive. They command a fanatical following.
...Wine Atlas of California, J.H.
The Rest of the Story
Since its formation in 1972, Silver Oak has made Cabernet Sauvignon and only Cabernet Sauvignon. Let's go back and look at the grape.
60 A.D.—Pliny the Elder called the divine vine of Bordeaux "Biturigiaca" after the local Gallic tribe Bituriges Ubriacai. Being a physically tough vine, the name became "vitis dura" (hard vine). It is still called "Vidure" in some parts of Bordeaux even as we speak.
1852—"Cabrunet" arrived in California at a San Jose nursery, and in a few decades showed more potential than that other red-wine newcomer, Zinfandel.
1960—Potential or not, Cab's total acreage was still only about 600.
1971—Planting has taken off. Acreage is 7,600 and will triple in five years.
1977—It didn't take long for Winemaker Meyer to get that act togther. Here's a review of his '77 Cab by critic Anthony Dias Blue: "Lush but firm; very elegant and balanced. Lovely."
Before long, almost every vintage was selling out
in about six months. My tasters just tried the
13,000 case 1995 Silver Oak Napa Valley Cab,
$75 a bottle. Our results...
It is our Super Wine of the Day!
The Wine Spectator's Jeff Morgan described now-President Meyers as half Santa Claus, half grizzly bear (see photo). It must have been a great sight in the 1960s when Christian Bros. would send him to promote their wines in Manhattan at the Four Seasons, the grizzly bear in a Roman collar. During those years, my wife and I would save our pennies and occasionally dine at the Seasons. Alas, we missed Brother Justin.
Note: I like the winery motto—"Life is a Cabernet."
Credits: Charles L. Sullivan's A Companion to California Wine
This page created April 2000