by Paul Gingrich
There are times in our lives that all the planets seem to line up, making for a perfect moment. I experienced one of those moments this year. The preparation for this perfect moment began in 2002 when, on a trip to Napa Valley, I stopped by Silver Oak Winery in Oakville. I purchased two bottles of the current release, which at the time was the 1997 vintage. 1997 was a monster vintage for Napa Valley Cabernet. It was one of those rare times when the fruit was so spectacular, winemakers prayed that they would get it in the bottle without messing it up. At Silver Oak they got it right in a big way. With every vintage there is a time when a wine reaches its peak and becomes everything the winemaker wanted it to be. What, as a young wine, is unruly, with chewy tannins, and bright tart fruit will ultimately transform into a deep rich wine with velvet tannins, and fruit that seems to go on forever. But you have to be patient. This is a hard thing to do. Bottles of wine like this whisper to you when you walk by the wine closet, like the bottle in Alice in Wonderland that begged “drink me”. By 2007, ten years from the vintage date, the voice gets louder like the Telltale Heart beckoning to you when you come near. I succumb to the call and free a bottle from the cellar only to find that while it has matured, it still has a youthful side that needs more time. Okay, I know I’m being a bit melodramatic, but this is a bottle with amazing potential. The Silver Oak Website indicates that this bottle will drink through 2023. That’s NOT going to happen. Patience will only carry so far.