Friday, December 3, 2021

Birthyear vintage Silver Oak Bonny's, Figeac for father-son dinner

Birthyear vintage wines for father-son (s) dinner - Silver Oak Bonny's, Château-Figeac

With family and wives out for the day or traveling, son's Ryan and Alec came over for Friday night beef roast stew dinner. With several reasons to celebrate, Ryan pulled from our cellar two birthyear vintage bottles we've been holding for such an occasion. 

At thirty-nine years, both bottles needed to be consumed and both showed amazing resilience in holding on, still being approachable, even in their advanced age approaching their fourth decade. 

Silver Oak Bonny's Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1982

This is the sole remaining bottle, held out from a case of this label that we served at Ryan and Michelle's wedding celebration dinner back in 2006. We also served large format five and six liter bottles of Silver Oak at their wedding rehearsal dinner. Just recently we also served a six-liter bottle of this label at son Alec's and wife Vivianna's wedding celebration festivities

We recently participated in a software vendor partnership executive briefing hosted by Ryan's company in collaboration with Silver Oak. I had the opportunity to share these Silver Oak special occasion experiences with the gathered group. 

Lastly, our visit to the Silver Oak Cooperage where they produce their specially crafted Missouri Oak barrels was a highlight of our Missouri Wine Experience month before last. 

I chronicled Silver Oak Bonny's Vineyard in detail in the Big Bottle Birthyear wines for Wedding Celebration blogpost mentioned above. The single vineyard designated wine was from the vineyard named for Silver Oak co-founder, Bonny Meyer, planted by Silver Oak founders Bonny and Justin Meyer in 1974 on a gravelly, four-acre plot in the Oakville district of Napa Valley. It was a much-heralded bottling for Silver Oak over the course of two decades, and the vineyard is now bottled under its own label by the Meyers. 

The fill level, lower neck, foil, label and cork were all in excellent condition, amazingly in top condition, appropriate for the age, testament to the provenance of our cellar conditions. The cork was tight and firm; Ryan used an ahso two pronged cork puller but exclaimed it would've come out intact with a traditional cork screw.

We decanted this as there was a fair amount of sediment in the bottle and an initial bit of musky dusty earthiness that burned off over the course of an hour. Dark ruby, ever so slightly brickish colored, medium bodied,  silky smooth and polished, holding together amazingly well for its age, vibrant black berry and black cherry fruits with notes of creosote, cigar box and hints of cassis, and what the winemaker refers to as notes of rhubarb. 

RM 90 points.

Château-Figeac Saint-Émilion Premier Grand Cru Classe 1982

For father-son dinner with son Ryan we opened from the cellar two of his birthyear vintage bottles, the Silver Oak and this Château-Figeac. I remember acquiring this wine at auction of TCWC - The Chicago Wine Company, back in the 90's. I still have the records from that purchase and note it was one of the highest prices I had ever paid for a wine, including the First Growth Bordeaux I acquired during the period and previously. 

This was one of the top ranked Bordeaux labels I acquired in large format bottles for my kids' birthyear vintages back upon or soon after release. 

I recall taking this label when we visited Ryan at college to take BYOB for a special dinner.

Château-Figeac has long been recognized and acknowledged as one of the top Bordeaux wines with the great ageing potential, gaining a highly flavourful and succulent complexity over the years, but one that could also be enjoyed just as much in its youth as after several decades. 

Château-Figeac is the flagship estate of a family that has a long history committed to promoting and advancing the region’s prestige and reputation, The estate, located in the heart of the Saint-Émilion appellation covers 133 acres, nearly a quarter of which is left unplanted to preserve a high-quality living environment and an overall natural balance. 

The principles of Château-Figeac have played an active part in the life of the City of Saint-Émilion and of the Bordeaux region, from the time of Élie de Carle, “knight of the vines”, in the 18th century to most recently, the current proprietor, Thierry Manoncourt and his descendants.

While the oldest vines date back to 1921, the average age of the vines in the nearly 100 acre vineyard is 35 years. In recent years, 35% of the vineyard has been replanted while conserving its specific character, following a detailed study of the soil, climate and vegetation. 

Château-Figeac’s vinegrowing terroir is a geological exception in the appellation, with three quartz and flint gravel outcrops, several metres deep, and blue clay subsoil, forming a patchwork of plots that are planted with the three grape varieties which give the wine its core identity - Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.

Critics notes summarized - The wine is highlighted by its aromas that reflect the lightness of the soil, its floral bouquet, infused fruit and graphite presenting a bright vitality. The two-thirds of Cabernet in the blend provides a structured backbone and firm body, rolling out a long, vibrant backbone with pure mineral notes on the finish. 

The whole is perfectly enfolded in lush, satin tannins in the style of the highest of high fashion. With time, the wine develops flavours of tobacco-leaf with hints of black truffle, while retaining incomparable freshness of fruit. A glimpse of perfection …

Château-Figeac’s exceptional vinegrowing terroir is the basis for the wines of Château-Figeac and their character and distinctive style from the unique combination of exceptional and complex soils (three Gunzian gravel outcrops, blue clay at depth, a patchwork of plots), several microclimates and an unusual mix of grape varieties dominated by Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon to complement the primary Merlot in the blend. 

Thierry Manoncourt was the first to plant Cabernet Sauvignon in significant proportions on the Right Bank.

Although the oldest vines date back to 1921, the average age of the vines in the nearly 41 hectare (100 acre) vineyard is 35 years. In recent years, 35% of the vineyard has been replanted while conserving its specific character, following a detailed study of the soil, climate and vegetation.

Château-Figeac Saint-Émilion Premier Grand Cru Classe 1982

This vintage release of this label was awarded 95 points by Decanter and John Gilman, 94 points by James Suckling and Rober Parker's Wine Advocate, and 92 points by Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar.

At thirty nine years of age, this was showing its aging potential, still holding its own and being approachable, still within its drinking window. The fill level was a lower neck level, appropriate for this age. The label, foil and importantly, the cork were all in excellent condition - further evidence of the aging conditions of our cellar. In 2009 Robert Parker wrote, this 1982 appears to be fully mature, but it tasted the same a decade ago, and it should hold at this level for another 10-20 years.

We decanted and left to open and settle for an hour. The color was dark garnet  colored with red bricking and a bit of grey cloudiness starting to set in, medium full bodied, deep complex black cherry and plum fruits with notes of black olive, clove spice, smoke, tar, mushrooms, wet earth and truffles with hints of bitter dark chocolate with smooth tannins on a long finish.

RM 89 points.