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Holiday dinners are the time to bring to the table outstanding wines like the 2007 Silver Oak Alexander Valley cabernet sauvignon.
In 1972, Denver oilman Raymond Duncan and Napa Valley winemaker Justin Meyer founded Silver Oak Cellars. From the outset, they had the unconventional idea of creating two wineries, one in Sonoma’s Alexander Valley, the other in Napa, each dedicated to producing a single cabernet sauvignon wine.

The first Silver Oak Alexander Valley cabernet sauvignon was made from purchased grapes in 1972. That same year, Duncan purchased a dairy farm in Napa Valley’s Oakville and began planting vineyards, producing the initial Silver Oak Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon in 1979. From inception, both wines have been made from estate-grown and purchased grapes.

The Duncan-Meyer team consistently produced outstanding wines that were sought after by the growing cadre of California wine collectors. One could reasonably credit Silver Oak with being the first California cult wine and creating the paradigm for a winery producing only a single wine for its fame.

In the mid-1990s, Meyer hired Daniel Baron to be his eventual replacement. Baron earned degrees in viticulture and enology from the University of California at Davis, worked at the world-famous Chateau Petrus, and was employed for 22 years at Napa’s prestigious Dominus estate, owned by Christian Moueix of Chateau Petrus, before joining Meyer at Silver Oak.

In 2001, Baron assumed the winemaker’s mantel and the following year, Raymond Duncan’s son, David assumed responsibility for Silver Oak.

This new Silver Oak team has developed a new winery, Twomey Cellars, that, true to the model, has two branches: One in Napa Valley devoted to merlot and another in Sonoma’s Healdsburg for pinot noir and sauvignon blanc. And all the while it has continued to produce top-notch Silver Oak cabernet sauvignons.

The 2007 Silver Oak Alexander Valley cabernet sauvignon has the modern markers of opaque red color and aromas of dark chocolate, ripe blackberry and black olive. Its full body bears a bushel of ripe black fruit flavor, and aging the wine for nearly two years in new and one-year old American oak barrels leaves a plush texture and vanilla aftertaste.

I have always preferred Silver Oak’s Alexander Valley cabernet sauvignon over the heavier and richer Napa Valley rendition. The Alexander Valley wine has more tannin in the finish and lower alcohol, making it a better partner with food. This remains the case with the 2007 Silver Oak Alexander Valley cabernet sauvignon.

Aerate this wine in a decanter for an hour or two before serving it with a rack of lamb and roasted potatoes seasoned with fresh rosemary and garlic; or place it next to roasted duck and spaetzle made with chopped sage. It makes an impressive holiday wine gift, too.

The 2007 Silver Oak Alexander Valley cabernet sauvignon retails for approximately $60.