On the 28th of June 2012, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House in New York City hosted a winemaker dinner for Silver Oak and Twomey Cellars. Attending from the wineries were David Duncan, President and CEO, and Daniel Baron, the head winemaker. The dinner was part of the Silver Oak Tower Tour 2012, celebrating 40 years of Cabernet Sauvignon production by Silver Oak.
Silver Oak produces two Cabernet Sauvignons. One is produced with grapes harvested from Napa Valley, while the other uses grapes from Alexander Valley. The Duncan family, Silver Oak’s owners, established Twomey in 1999 when they acquired the Soda Canyon Ranch in Napa Valley. Twomey Cellars produces a Merlot, four types of Pinot Noir, and a Sauvignon Blanc.
I found out about the wine dinner by way of my neighbors, who asked if there would be interest in attending. Let’s see…Del Frisco’s, second best steakhouse in New York City, check. Silver Oak, premier producer of Cabernet Sauvignon, check. Great wine and great food with great friends, check. That decision didn’t take very long.
The dinner began at 7:00 pm with Passed Appetizers paired with the 2011 Twomey Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley. The appetizers included Fried Oysters with Spiced Green Mayonnaise, Steak Tartare on Crisp Wonton, Sliced Ahi Tuna on Cucumber, and Bacon Wrapped Figs with Blue Cheese. Unfortunately, our 1 ½ hour commute to Manhattan took 2 ½ hours and we arrived at 7:30 pm. While we missed the appetizers (they sounded so good!), I did get a glass of the Sauvignon Blanc.
The 2011 Sauvignon Blanc was 100% Sauvignon Blanc with 65% sourced from Calistoga Vineyard and 35% from Westside Road Vineyard. The wine’s aging took place in 50% French oak barrels, 30% stainless steel tanks, and 20% stainless steel drums. It’s ABV was 13.9% and there were 3,300 cases of this vintage produced. At $25, this wine offers great value to oaked Sauvignon Blanc fans.
The nose found distinct pear and peach. The primary flavors on the palate were almonds, peach, and apple. The finish of this wine was long and buttery, bringing pear with it. This was a delicious glass of wine.
The first course consisted of Pan Seared Sea Scallops with Apple Chutney and Hickory Smoked Lardons. This was paired with a 2010 Twomey Pinot Noir Russian River Valley.
The 2010 Twomey Pinot Noir Russian River Valley was sourced from the West Pin Vineyard and the Crinella Vineyard. It was aged in French oak (50% new, 50% once-used) for 15 months. The wine’s ABV was 13.6%. There were 2,600 cases of this vintage produced.
The aromas from the glass took me by surprise. There was jam, blackberry, and blueberry. It was reminiscent of a Zinfandel. These were the distinctive grapes of Russian River Valley. The flavors of this wine were spectacular. Blackberry, pepper, jam, and red berries. It ended with a nice long finish, more jam slowly tapering off. This wine was a pleasure to drink. The 2010 Twomey Pinot Noir retails around $50. I am trying to track down some of this wine for my cellar. I would recommend anyone try it, at least once.
The wine went perfectly with the first course. The Sea Scallops were delicious. The smokiness of the lardons and the sweet and spicy of the chutney played beautifully against the bold fruit in the wine.
The second course consisted of Braised Short Ribs with Black Truffle Risotto. This was accompanied by 2007 Twomey Merlot Napa Valley.
The 2007 Twomey Merlot Napa Valley was 94% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine was aged in French oak (33% new, 33% once-used, 33% old) for 15 months and carried a 13.9% ABV.
Black fruit and vanilla were the prominent notes on the nose. The bouquet was rather simple with the fruit much milder than the Pinot Noir. Tasting the wine, I found black fruit, pepper, clove, and firm tannins. The finish was medium, being cut short with a bit of alcohol.
The wine drank much better with the arrival of the Braised Short Ribs. The ribs were perfectly cooked, falling off the bone perfect. The fat of the meat cut the tannins in the wine nicely. The risotto was outstanding as well.
Overall, the Merlot was my least favorite wine of the evening. The wine retails around $50. At that price point, there are some better options available in the Merlot category.
The main course was a Prime Ribeye Loin with Lobster Butter, Twice Baked Potato with Smoked Gouda, and Seasoned Summer Vegetables. For this course, we were treated to a 2007 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley and a 2007 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley.
The 2007 Alexander Valley was 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine was aged for 24 months in American oak (50% new, 50% once-used), and spent an additional 15 months aging in the bottle prior to release. The listed ABV was 13.9%. This wine retails in the $65 to $75 range.
The Alexander Valley had red fruit, red berries, and vanilla on the nose. Once in the mouth, red fruit was abundant along with ripe tannins. The finish was long, brining vanilla with it.
The 2007 Napa Valley was 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, and 1% Cabernet Franc. The wine was aged in new American oak for 25 months, and then for an additional 20 months in the bottle prior to release. The ABV was 13.9%. This wine retails in the $80 to $90 range.
The Napa Valley nose found red fruit and cherry. The palate was similar, bold red fruit and delicious cherries. The finish was extremely long, an absolute pleasure.
Sadly, the Ribeye Loin was pretty chewy. To compensate for that, the Lobster Butter it was smothered in was absolutely fantastic (can anything in the world not be better with Lobster Butter? Seriously, think about it.). The Seasonal Summer Vegetables turned out to be sautéed spinach in garlic, which was very good. Now….the Twice Baked Potato with Smoked Gouda…. it was decadent.
Both the Alexander Valley and the Napa Valley were perfectly paired with this meal. The beef definitely cut some of the tannins in the Alexander. The wines brought out the best in the meal, and the meal brought a lot to the wines as well. The potato was from another universe, brought here for this wonderful gathering. The texture of the potato and the creamy smokiness of the cheese were a terrific accompaniment to these wonderful Cabernet Sauvignons. Overall, most at the table thought the Napa was a better match, although one stalwart stood by the Alexander Valley as his pick. Trust me, either one will go great with a meal.
For dessert, a Pear Tart with Caramel Ice Cream was served, along with a 2006 Chateau Les Justices Sauternes. I did not partake of the tart and ice cream, but I did take a sip of the Sauternes. I am not a dessert wine person, but this wine was delicious and the perfect end to a great meal.
And so, another wine dinner came to a close. The food was sensational, the wine was phenomenal, and there was much laughter shared by many throughout the evening. Thank you, neighbors.