If its August, it’s time for one of the biggest single-vinery parties in California Wine Country—one of Silver Oak Cellars’ semi-annual Release Day parties (One in February for its newly released Napa cabernets, in one in August for its Alexander Valley cabs). This month’s party celebrated the release of its 2007 Alexander Valley cab.
More on the wine later: First, the Party.
Partying Silver Oak Style
Release Day parties are celebrated at each of the winery’s two estates; Oakville in Napa and Geyserville in Sonoma. Each provided:
- Unlimited tastings (and discounted purchases) of the newly released Alexander Valley cab;
- Somewhat more limited tastings of the previously released 2006 Napa Valley cab (one must, of course, compare the two);
- Single (albeit generous) tastes of two wines from Twomey, Silver Oak’s sister winery (a 2010 Sauvignon Blanc and a 2006 Merlot);
- Food stations from some of wine country’s best caterers and restaurants;
- Live music from a local band;
- Extras, including commemorative photos, winemaker autographs on bottles; and
- An opportunity to spend a day in the lovely grounds and walk through the tranquil vineyards.
We attended the Napa event. Joyce and I were looking forward to a repeat of February’s delicious fried chicken, but atlas, to shake things up, this time the food was a Wood Oven Pizza Competition where attendees had unlimited servings of five different pizzas from various chefs After tasting all of the pizzas, guests were encouraged to vote for their favorites by slipping a Silver Oak cork into a bottle where the pizza was served. For the record, our favorite was Cindy Pawlcyn’s housemade pork-fennel sausage and broccoli rabe.
Our Wine Experience
Let me preface this section with a big caveat. Joyce and I have a real appreciation for the wines we like. Although we certainly try to analyze and find words to describe our perceptions of many of the wines and foods we enjoy, our appreciation comes primarily from the mysterious ways as to how a wine blends with the moment to create an experience for us; less from the objective attributes of the food or wine itself.
Given this, we enjoyed the party, which drew several hundred Silver Oak fans. Although we didn’t take advantage of opportunities such as photographs and autographs, we did take full advantage of the courtyard and the odd comfort we seem to feel walking in vineyards.
And we also enjoyed the wine—but heck, it is Silver Oaks, what’s not to like? The 2007 Alexander Valley cab ($70) was a smooth, relatively fruit- driven wine whose smooth tannins make it very pleasant today to drink, it will certainly improve with age. We saw a deep purplish color and smelled and tasted black cherry and berry with spice and pepper. The 06 Napa cab has a deeper ruby color and more complexity. There is more earth in the nose, darker fruit and more intense spice. Its tannins are also more pronounced. So, while we certainly enjoy drinking the Napa, this enjoyment is based largely on our appreciation for what we think the wine will become.
Overall, we definitely enjoyed this month’s Party and certainly look forward to attending others. Although we are predisposed to the Napa venue, we probably owe it to ourselves to experience the Geyserville venue next time.