TN: 2001 Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet

So let me start that this is so far the oldest cab that I have tasted. I found this bottle in a local liquor store sitting tucked away in the back of the store. BTW - the store was anything but climate controlled. Southern CA near the ocean so I guess the temperature swings were 65 to maybe 82. The bottle (capsule and cork) looked intact. It sold for approximately 50% of the lowest wine searcher value so I thought I would give it a try.

OK - So upon opening the cork crumbled some what but I got it out. Somewhat of a sweet fragrant nose. I let it breathe in a glass for about 20 minutes and tried it. Very soft tannins, mild oak and I think a very distinct taste of vanilla! Very different from the more recent vintage cabs that I have tried. It is not bold by any means but subdued and consuming. I like it!


If you like it, that’s all that matters.

Tony, if you liked it you should try their 2006. Very similar profile to the 2001, just dialed down a little compared to a properly stored 2001. (I used to have a decent amount of Silver Oak AV up to a couple years ago.)

EDIT: Are you Dagman on CellarTracker?

Shocked! I am shocked to hear that about this wine. [stirthepothal.gif]

Guess that is what I was looking for. Are Silver Oak’s known for their vanilla background? Sounds like they are.

Yes, Tony, they are pretty solid on the vanilla component, but I’m surprised a bit that a 15 year old Silver Oak still has vanilla so prevalent. I’m a fan of aged Silver Oak - my wife is a fan of young Silver Oak. Guess how many aged bottles we have in our house?

Thanks for the feedback. As I mentioned this was the oldest cab I have had so far and with the questionable storage conditions, I was curious if it was “off center” from where it should be. I am pleased with it - in fact a I am enjoying a 2nd day glass right now with no improvement / degradation over last night. I might just go back to snag another bottle or two!

I think of it like Jordan, classic benchmarks American steakhouse cabs as a style reference.

Vanilla = Silver Oak!

If you like the style, make this your “experiment wine” to keep going older and older on. They hit their modern style, I think, early on…early 90’s? Maybe even the 80’s.

It may be a good guide to how aged you like your Cali cabs!


Yes - I am relatively early on in my wine tasting experience (not age unfortunately!). This was a bit of an experiment for me but an enjoyable one! I have a 2001 Spottswoode Estate in the queue for me to try next.

I really enjoyed their wines in the 80’s. As I recall, there was a marked style change when the 1994 was released. I believe part of it was a style change and probably at least as big of a change was a change in vineyard source ( I believe this occurred around that time).

I’ve been trying to think back to when the change took place.

Many of us like Silver Oak, but prefer to remain anonymous.

I think the “change” referenced here occurred with the transition of winemaking duties from Justin Meyer to Daniel Baron. IIRC this was with the 93 vintage but may be off by a year. The Justin Meyer made Silver Oaks of the 80’s and early 90’s were tremendous.


Early 80’s Bonny’s were really good.

I agree, we still have bottles of Bonny’s here and there that are aging very well 30+ years on. (I will risk life and limb to describe them as Bordeaux-like.) [cheers.gif]

I’m opening a 2000 Napa S.O. on Saturday (IT WAS A GIFT!!)
I’ll report.

Not as much as you could find in certain [highfive.gif] products from 7-11.

The Silver Oak hallmark to the Wine Weasles starting back in the 80’s was a pickle barrel nose, courtesy of American oak aging.
Bonny’s was identifiable by the additional herbal/vegetal quality. I was told the vineyard surrounding the Myer’s house was so close to the river, there was lots of water and vigor contributing factors to its distinctiveness.

The dill part and not the vinegar part of the pickle, I hope.

Bonny’s was amazingly (I mean that almost as a flaw) brambly and wild when a new release, then it changed more than almost any other wine I have followed over time.