Finding a Style
While the winemaking world is easily distracted by the trend of the minute, the Meyer Family has held fast to their style through the decades. Justin Meyer had a vision of producing an elegant food friendly Cabernet back in 1972. When he chose to focus on Cabernet during the white wine boom of the 70’s his friends told him he was crazy. Nevertheless, Justin partnered with Ray Duncan in the summer of 1972 and started a new wine project yet unnamed. The first vintage was a tough one, wet and wild the grapes trudged into the winery barely ripe. Another man may have cut his losses, but Meyer kept to the plan and set to barrel aging the wine for 2 ½ years and bottle ageing for an additional 2 ½ years. The goal was to produce a food friendly elegant red wine that was drinking well upon release. Ray and Justin’s partnership went on to become Silver Oak, one of the most sought after Cabernet Sauvignon producers in the world.
The family did not make sweeping changes but rather refined the wines style over the years. As the white wine boom fell away, Zinfandel and Merlot were planted in large amounts, but the wine remained Cabernet Sauvignon. They saw green Cabernets of the past shift to inky tannic monsters then back to more balanced wines. As styles yo-yoed around them Silver Oak was able to establish and retain loyal customers who knew that they would always be able to find a food friendly elegant Cabernet in Silver Oak.
Today the Meyer Family makes its Bonny’s Vineyard Cabernet in the same time tested style that is has in the past. As alcohols drift up and again down, winemakers dabble with co-fermentation, whole bunch barrel fermenting, and bio-dynamic farming, not much will change in Bonny’s vineyard. That is not to say that these techniques do not have merit and may produce some extraordinary wines. The concern is that Bonny’s Vineyard is a small low yielding vineyard which produces a limited amount of fruit even in the best of years. Therefore, the Meyer goal is to produce an elegant food friendly wine they will enjoy to drink, and to find a few others to drink it with them.