The 2011 vintage was the second in a pair of late ripening vintages for the Napa Valley. The application of precision farming methods and the use of berry sensory techniques in addition to traditional maturity analyses were critical to our success in a challenging season. Winter and spring were wet and atypically cold, with such conditions persisting through bloom, resulting in lower than normal yields. These conditions persisted through the summer with an especially thick and stubborn marine layer that resided over the valley floor. We were relieved when an Indian Summer arrived in September and resulted in a brief heatwave from the 6th - 7th and a sustained one from the 18th - 23rd. These heat events triggered maturity in several vineyards and harvest began on September 27th. Precipitation occurred from October 3rd through October 6th, creating a pause in harvest. Crush resumed on October 10th and proceeded at a steady rate until the final grapes were harvested on November 1st, fifteen days later than a typical vintage. It was a vintage in which patience, experience and careful attentiveness played key roles.
Our 2011 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, selected from vineyards throughout the appellation, is 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.5% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot and 0.5% Malbec. We blended the vineyard lots in early 2012 and transferred the wine to 100% new American oak barrels for aging. Blending prior to barreling allows us to achieve a balance of the wine's primary elements, such as fruit and tannin, before they are influenced by oak. The wine was then aged in barrel for approximately 24 months and another 20 months in bottle to harmonize its components before release.
“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. Should develop well for at least a decade.” Steve Heimoff – Wine & Spirits Magazine