No tasting notes w/ this review.
When I returned from California last month, four vertical tasting experiences of the most recent vintages (1984, 1985, 1986 and 1987) of red wines lingered in my memory because of the greatness of the wines I tasted. In Sonoma, the marvelous continuity in quality of the Ravenswood zinfandels was unforgettable. In Napa, the depth, richness and purity of Dunn's Howell Mountain cabernet sauvignon and the sheer majestic qualities and complexity obtained by Christian Moueix's Dominus were breathtaking, but vastly different expressions of winemaking at its best. The fourth mind-blowing experience was with Justin Meyer at Silver Oak. This is altogether another style of winemaking, but one with fantastic results. One hundred percent American oak is used at Silver Oak, and the winery specializes in only one wine, a luscious cabernet sauvignon that comes from three locations. About 16,000 cases come from Alexander Valley, about 2,000 cases come from Napa Valley and about 500 cases from a tiny parcel of vines named after Meyer's wife Bonny. The cabernets spend nearly 2 and 1/2 years in American oak barrels of which 50% is new oak for the Alexander Valley and 100% new oak for the Bonny's vineyard. The winery has somehow managed to keep a low profile depite the fact the quality of their cabernets is outstanding. Yet the quiet, reserved Justin Meyer does reluctantly admit that the quality of his 1984's, 1985's and 1986's represent the finest wines he has ever made. The 1984's, which will be released in Fall, 1988, are unbelievable wines, displaying sensational depth of fruit, extremely long finishes, exceptional concentration and 5-12 years aging potential. I rated the Alexander Valley 92, the Napa Valley 95 and the Bonny's Vineyard 97. Believe me, these are astonishingly hedonistic cabernets that will be hard to resist drinking when they are released. Yet the 1985's, while still in barrel, are, I believe, marginally superior to the exquisite 1984's made here. Each of the three 1985's may merit a score several points higher than the same wine in 1984. That is how splendid Silver Oak's 1985's are. They will not be released until Fall, 1989.
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