About Daniel Baron:
If it wasn’t for a bout of mononucleosis, Daniel Baron might never have become a winemaker. A self-described “beach rat” who grew up on Long Island, New York, Daniel was set to start his second year as lifeguard at Jones Beach after his freshman year in college when he tested positive for mono and was turned down for the job. It was 1968, so naturally he hopped in a car with his buddies and drove out to San Francisco.
But Daniel soon moved to Knights Valley, where he met vineyard manager John Rolleri, his first mentor, with whom he apprenticed at two ranches before Rolleri hired him as a tractor driver and field hand at Chateau Montelena. Rolleri taught Daniel how to plant, prune and harvest.
After college at Davis and a stint in Bordeaux France, Daniel landed a job at the legendary Chateau Petrus, and was befriended by owner Christian Moueix, winemaker Jean-Claude Berrouet, cellar-master Jean Veyssiere and his son Francois. Daniel credits them with teaching him about wine as a part of culture and how “history, quality and tradition are intertwined with the practical aspects of winemaking.” And it was Daniel’s performance at Petrus in the legendary 1982 vintage that led Christian Moueix
to put him in charge of his new winery in Napa Valley, Dominus Estate.
Daniel worked at Dominus from 1982 to 1994, rising to general manager, when a quirky newspaper ad placed by Justin Meyer of Silver Oak Cellars caught his attention and changed the course of his life. “Justin was looking to name his successor,” says Daniel. “We hit it off immediately, and although I wasn’t sure about leaving Dominus, Justin wouldn’t take no for an answer.” Daniel worked side by side with Justin until his retirement in 2001. After Justin retired, Daniel continued as winemaker at Silver Oak under the leadership of the Duncan family, and was instrumental in the creation of Twomey Cellars in 1999, another Duncan family winery.
In 2007, Daniel was named Director of Winemaking for Silver Oak and Twomey; it is now his turn to mentor winemaking teams at four facilities, and true to his roots in the vineyard, oversee approximately 280 acres of estate vines.
Daniel lives in Napa with is wife Gwyneth and their three children. Still a beach rat, he enjoys surfing and sailing, as well as snowboarding, playing the mandolin and Japanese martial arts.
We met at Silver oak Cellars recently for our Foodie Chap chat. The Duncan brothers David (CEO) & Tim (Exec.VP) also took a few minutes to share some wine and stories. We talked up BOTTLE ROCK NAPA VALLEY (BRNV) May 29 30 31 where SILVER OAK wines will be poured as good vibes and the sound of the SILVERADO SUN PICK-UPS (David’s band) fill the NAPA air. Enjoy the conversation with the three guys behind some of NAPA’s best known and highly scored wines.
(L-R) The Duncan Brothers – Tim (Exec.VP) & David (CEO) with Liam Mayclem (credit: Foodie Chap/Liam Mayclem)
Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Our 2010 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a vibrant, elegant expression of this classic appellation from a cooler vintage. It has a deep garnet color and an enticing nose of cassis liqueur, blueberry coulis, tobacco, tarragon and roasting coffee. The seamless palate starts with a berry-laden attack, follows with a full-bodied mid-palate, and ends with a long, savory finish with fine-grained, well-integrated tannins. Given proper cellaring, this wine should give drinking pleasure through 2031.
BLENDING AND AGING:
Our 2010 Alexander Valley, selected from several different vineyards, is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. We blended the vineyard lots in early 2011 and transferred the wine to 50% new and 50% once-used American oak barrels for aging. Blending prior to barreling allows us to achieve a balance of the wine’s natural elements, such as fruit and tannin, before they are influenced by oak. The wine was then aged in barrel for approximately 24 months and another 15 months in bottle to harmonize its components before release.
2010 was the first of two unusually cool California vintages. The spring was cool with some minor frosts and a few spring showers. By June, temperatures normalized, greatly helping bloom and set. Both July and August were unusually cool, which contributed to extraordinary phenolic and color maturity. Slightly above average temperatures in September and the first half of October brought the crop to ideal maturity. We began harvest in the Alexander Valley on September 30th, three weeks later than normal, and ended on October 26th.
Vintage Appellation Composition Bottle Sizes Alcohol Release Day 2010
100% Cabernet Sauvignon
750ml, 1.5 L Magnum, 3 L Double Magnum, 6 L Imperial 13.9%
August 2, 2014
Cheers and see you at BottleRock Napa Valley!
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