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As I mentioned some of my other posts, we are spending a few days traveling around the Napa Valley and Sonoma area, trying many different wineries local to the area. We’ve already visited Merryvale and Mondavi, and our third winery was the Silverado Vineyards winery.
Silverado is one of the oldest family owned wineries in the Napa Valley. I’d say this winery was probably our favorite visit of the day. The views are breathtaking and you can see green property stretching beneath you. We were lucky to meet Ray, a master wine taster who works for the winery part time. Once he found out that I was taking the Wine Spectator ABC’s of Wine online course, he was extremely effusive in sharing his knowledge.
We started our tasting at Silverado Vineyard with a 2015 Chardonnay Vineburg Vineyard. It’s an unoaked wine with flavors and smells of peach, green apple, and citrus. It was extremely light and refreshing. This would be a perfect wine for a nice summer day on your back porch or in your yard, to drink along with the light summer meal.
As we were tasting the first Chardonnay, Ray told us all about how there are 16 appellations in the Napa Valley, which are soil types and climate differences. He told us about the 1976 Judgment of Paris, when California wines won both categories for their Chardonnay and Cabernet. After the 1976 Judgment of Paris, the California wine region really started to explode.
He then poured us our next wine, a 2013 Sangiovese from Soda Creek Ranch. This Sangiovese was blended with 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. It has an oak flavor, and a high alcohol content at 14.5%. It has slight, mellow tannins, is smooth, and the acid is intact. This finally balanced wine was aged in French oak.
Ray also gave us a great tip and said that if the alcohol level is above 14.5%, drink the wine now or within a few short years. If the alcohol is lower than 14.5% you can age the wine for many years. He then gave us a special treat and allowed us to taste the 1996 Cabernet Sauvignon.
Silverado winery makes wine in the Bordeaux style, and this wine was bold, tannic, peppery, and earthy. It had a smooth mouth feel, and I could smell and taste notes of crushed berries, vanilla, cedar, bayleaf, and cocoa. This was probably our favorite wine of the day, and we end up purchasing a bottle of it to bring back to Boston!
He then poured the 2013 Estate Cabernet, made from the same grapes as the 1996 bottle, but younger. The wine had many of the same flavors as the ’96 Cabernet, and it was barrel aged in 93% French oak mixed with 7% American oak.
The final wine of our Silverado tasting was a 2013 Zinfandel with grapes from their Soda Creek Ranch property. One of the reasons I was so excited to try Silverado wines was because of the Zinfandel grapes. It seems as if they get a bad rep sometimes, with people thinking that Zinfandel is a cheap or low-class wine. However the Silverado 2013 Zinfandel was fruit forward and smooth. With the high alcohol content of 15.2%, its tannins are smooth. It tasted like plums and blackberries.
Silverado was our favorite winery of the trip by far. They were extremely hospitable and friendly. The views were lush and stunning, and Ray was an outstanding host. If we go back to the Napa Valley we would definitely go back to Silverado first!