Late last week Silver Oak Cellars rolled into town with a 15 feet tall replica of their iconic water tower towed by a custom Airstream as part of their 60 city 40th Anniversary Tower Tour celebrating 40 years of producing Silver Oak wine, at the Gaylord Texan.
Started in 1972 by Raymond Duncan and Justin Meyer, Napa Valley’s Silver Oak has been a staple on wine lists and in home cellars across the country for years as their consistent Cabernet Sauvignon from both Napa Valley and Alexander Valley have proven to be food friendly, varietally correct and ready to drink as each year is released.
In 1999 the winery acquired the Soda Canyon Ranch Vineyard in southeastern Napa and began their sister winery, Twomey, to focus on varieties other than Cabernet Sauvignon, originally mainly on Merlot as the volcanic soil filled vineyard was planted with high quality French clones of Merlot. I have always enjoyed a glass of Twomey Merlot, even when it wasn’t chic, as the ripe berry and cherry flavors meld beautifully into layers of chocolate, coffee and hints of toffee with light floral and spice aromas. Consistently a delicious glass of wine. Today the winery also produces a crisp Sauvignon Blanc with balanced fruit and just a touch of creaminess, and Pinot Noirs, including their single vineyard, organically farmed Bien Nacido Pinot Noir, filled with raspberry, strawberries and wild rose aromas with a lush, fruit forward palate. If you haven’t tried Twomey wines lately, especially their Merlot, then get ready. The winery recently announced the addition of Jean-Claude Berrouet as Consulting Winemaker. Berrouet was the winemaker and technical director for Etablissement Jean-Pierre Moueix, whose properties included Chateaux Magdelaine, Trotanoy and Petrus.
The idea for the tour came about to say thank you to the intensely loyal fans the brand has made over 40 years in every part of the country. Dallas was stop number 12 of the tour, starting at the Silver Oak Alexander Valley winery in Geyserville, CA on June 5. The tour will continue over the next few weeks travelling across the country and back, eventually ending at their Oakville property in Napa Valley on August 4th for their 40th anniversary release day celebration. Each stop is unique, sometimes at a venue, like at the Gaylord Texan, sometimes at iconic restaurants, like their recent stop at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans, sometimes in the parking lot of a local retailer.
CEO and Son of co-founder Raymond Duncan, David Duncan, noted that “after 40 years, Silver Oak remains the benchmark of Cabernet Sauvignon – over the years it has created a culture and story that embodies American entrepreneurship and the spirit of the Napa Valley. Over that time we’ve created a community of intensely loyal fans across the country. This tour is our unique way of saying thank you by bringing Silver Oak into their communities in a fun way.”
In speaking with Tony LeBlanc, GM of Silver Oak and Twomey and leader of the first part of the traveling tour, it quickly became obvious that this is a man who loves his job, from the wine side to the people side, his enthusiasm is contagious as is his passion for the kind of wine Silver Oak and Twomey makes – always approachable, and always delicious.