On the Trail

Silver Oak Summarizes Great 2012 Napa Vintage

Bryan Brick

“Blue Chip." That is always one of the phrases I use when talking about the Silver Oak Napa Valley bottling. Year after year, Silver Oak produces some of the most reliably delicious wine that Napa has to offer. It might not be most “culty,” nor the highest rated on someone’s 100 point scale, but it is always exactly what you know it to be: rich, powerful, heavily-fruited, laced with spicy oak and full of structure, yet still enjoyable upon release. Perfect for gifts, important client meetings, special dinners, and a great mid-term wine for any smart collector, Silver Oak is always a safe and smart decision when looking for a higher-end bottling. Sometimes it seems we're overlooking these attributes when selecting a wine at K&L, which is why I thought we could use the reminder. Dependability is becoming more important, in my opinion, as the prices for signature wines continue to rise. Silver Oak is as dependable as it gets when it comes to Napa cabernet and the new release of the 2012 vintage builds on everything we already love about the wine. 

The 2012 Napa Valley bottling from Silver Oak has been wildly anticipated for the last few months, especially after the fall release of the stunning 2012 Alexander Valley bottling. 2012 is the first in a string of three outstanding Napa Cabernet vintages and it's wildly apparent from the nose that the wine is a hallmark 2012 release.. Known for its generosity and ripeness, 2012 on the whole has charmed California wine drinkers over the last couple of years with its pretty fruit and early drinkability, but its with wine like the Silver Oak Napa that vintages like these are ultimately judged on. According to the folks at the winery, there was only a single day during the vintage that reached 100 degrees, meaning the growing season was warm and nurturing, but never too hot. 

The grapes for the 2012 Silver Oak Napa Valley were harvested in September, before the October rains came. The conditions were perfect and the quality of that fruit is apparent in the wine itself. Dark but with a juicy core of blue/black fruit highlighted by espresso and sweetened cocoa powder the nose here resonates and has plenty of weight and concentration. This enters velvety and full bodied and shines as it rolls along to the mid-palate. Full of swirling and complex flavors of brambly wild berry, chopped green olives, blueberry angel cake, pipe tobacco, and homemade chocolate brownies this is gulp-able and yet serious at the same time. Finishing with its signature oaky pinning and considerable tannin, fruit rather than oak, this is one stunner of a wine and easily the best Silver Oak Napa Valley bottling since 2007 or 2009. In a word: tremendous.

-Bryan Brick