Silver Trident Winery opened a Tuscan styled tasting room/home in downtown Yountville in March 2015. Both owners of Silver Trident have spent many years working in the hospitality and luxury markets. Bob Binder is co-founder of Oceania Cruises and Walter Jost has enjoyed a career as an executive in advertising and media.
This modern tasting ‘home’ is located on site of what was formerly a private residence, was home to Clocks Unlimited from the late 1970s until the early 1980s located inside the home which at one point was used by former railroad stationmaster, and for many years, was a showroom for Barker’s Yat-ta Hay Indian Trading Post. In early January 1973, someone driving a vehicle swerved after hitting someone riding a horse owned by Lissa Doumani (co-owner of Restaurant Terra in Yountville for 30 years) and crashed into the side of the home.
This space is a unique concept in Napa Valley; it combines wine tasting with a setting that is home to Ralph Lauren furniture, home décor and other accessories. Books and various pieces of artwork are also displayed (non-Ralph Lauren items). Bob initially made the connection with Ralph Lauren when his company purchased several ships that needed interior and suite renovations and Ralph Lauren was contacted to provide the interior decorations.
This is the only Ralph Lauren outlet combined with a wine tasting room on the planet. And the items here are all one of a kind, not sold through Ralph Lauren retail shops or their website. Almost everything is for sale in the tasting room; during a recent visit, items for sale were as diverse and eclectic as a carbon fiber deck of playing cards and a large succulent plant display. Artisan coffee and olive oil are also sold here.
A visit is not a “traditional” tasting room experience. The home is inviting and elegantly decorated. Guests sit down to enjoy a flight of wines at their own pace with unscripted conversation with the host. Silver Trident also offers a tasting that they have become most known for, the The Potato Chip Extravaganza in which each of their wines is paired with a different artisanal-made potato chip. Following the tastings, guests can leisurely walk around the home to view the décor for sale.
Silver Trident’s first vintage was from 2009. Initially all their wine was made entirely for use on the Oceania Cruise ships. Excellent food and premium wines are an integral part of the Oceania cruising experience. Their Culinary Director is the famed French chef and television personality Jacques Pépin. Jacques worked with Julia Child on a popular culinary PBS series show called, Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home.
Silver Trident currently produces about 3,500 cases of wine annually. The wines are sold directly from their tasting room and are still served on the Oceania Cruise ships.
Both Bob and Walter live part time just south of St. Helena where they own a three-acre vineyard planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Syrah; this vineyard provides the source of some of their grapes while other wines are sourced from select Napa Valley vineyards as well as in the Russian River appellation of neighboring Sonoma County.
The name Silver Trident has a specific meaning. Silver for the fact that when seas are calm, the waters looking to the horizon can appear silver in color. Trident refers to a three-pronged spear which historically has been used for spear fishing. In addition, the trident is the weapon of the god of the sea Poseidon, or Neptune, in classical mythology.
Each of their wines are also carefully named – some have names that (for obvious reasons) that are related to cruising or the ocean.
The 2021 Silver Trident Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc is named “Symphony no. 9” – focusing on the choral aspects of this particular piece by Beethoven. This wine is 97% Sauvignon Blanc – Clone 1 and 3% Semillon and was fermented in 75% stainless steel and 25% neutral French oak barrels. It is pale to medium yellow in the glass; the bouquet is expressive and highly aromatic offering notes of white flowers including jasmine and honeysuckle, melon, white peach, lychee and hints of mint/wintergreen showing deeper in the aromatics. Superbly balanced across the palate this wine shows a light creamy texture and offers flavors of green apple, gooseberry and lemon. This finish lingers with plenty of brightness but is not tart; this is a very nice example of a Napa Valley Sauvignon which is neither green nor grassy nor overly tropical in its stylistic approach.
The 2014 Silver Trident Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc is a “chorus” if you will that changes rather dramatically as it breathes. Initially there is a pleasing note of candied caramel or brown sugar, then tropical nuances develop (yellow pineapple) – and finally reveals more citrus aromas. It is neat to observe these changes as the wine opens. On the palate it shows notes of pineapple and lingering flavors of lemon and lime. This is a clean and very balanced wine.
The 2014 Silver Trident Apollo’s Folly Rosé was sourced from Dutton Ranch in the Russian River Valley appellation from Pinot Noir vines that were planted specifically to produce a rosé wine (which in our experience is rarely the case in Napa or Sonoma). The wine was made in the Provençal style and was picked somewhat early, and barrel fermented in both new and used oak. We are just beginning to see a trend towards this style of rosé from select producers in the Napa Valley (either from Napa or Sonoma fruit). Silver Trident takes the Provençal style one step further; they use the same style of bottle as one would find used for a rosé in Provence.
This wine is salmon colored in the glass and reveals aromas of white wild strawberry – a Jolly Rancher candied component to the bouquet along with raspberry. This wine is gentle on the palate; it shows some weight but without viscosity. It is easy to drink, balanced and shows a finish of fruit (strawberry, watermelon) that lingers delicately without any notes of alcohol (this rosé is over 14% alcohol).
The varietal percentages for the Playing with Fire proprietary red blend changes each year. The 2019 Silver Trident Playing with Fire, Napa Valley Red Blend is dark ruby in color; the bouquet is immediately wide open and full of blackberries, dark raspberry, bright dark cherry, blueberries, some mint and secondary aromatics including cardamom, clove and molasses. The palate is lifted nicely by its bright and mouthwatering acidity accompanied by flavors of red cherry, pomegranate, red currant and tea leaf. This bottling lingers somewhat dusty with a subtle hint of dried tobacco leaf deep on the finish; the tannins are well-integrated. Feminine, balanced and seamless, this wine delivers everything one wants in an approachable and food-friendly bottling.
The 2012 Silver Trident Playing with Fire is a unique wine blend; the grapes for this wine were sourced entirely from their St. Helena vineyard. It is a blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Malbec and 20% Syrah. Perhaps the name is a reference to the heavier toast levels on some of the oak used during the aging or simply the fact one doesn’t find these three varieties in a blend from a Napa producer. The wine is dark purple in the glass; it shows mostly black fruit on the bouquet including sweet black licorice aromas along with an underlying spice note – perhaps cardamom. It is also somewhat floral offering aromas of dried rose petals. The palate features primarily darker fruits including blackberry and other dark berry fruits, complemented by delicate balanced tannins anchoring a smooth very palatable finish.
The 2013 Silver Trident Pinot Noir was sourced from the Russian River Valley in neighboring Sonoma County. It was named the “Benevolent Dictator” by Walter – revealing his sense of humor and a contrast between two words. A dictator is someone who lays down the law, often with an “iron fist”. Walter is the benevolent dictator in that he dictated the style of Pinot Noir he wanted made, yet it is crafted to be user-friendly and approachable styled wine. The bouquet is complex and initially shows some darker spice notes including white pepper accompanied by raspberry and red cherry. An earthy component also shows along with nuances of cedar. Silver Trident recommends pairing this wine with mushroom-based dishes and or salmon.
The 2010 Silver Trident Twenty Seven Fathoms Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon was sourced from three sub appellations within Napa Valley including Yountville, Rutherford and Atlas Peak. The name was chosen to represent the average depth of the Panama Canal and its importance in global marine transportation. The name is also a reference to the connection or a bridge between old world and new world wines. This wine shows ripe and lively aromas in the glass along with a diversity of other aromatics wet rock after a rainfall, toasted oak, hints of chocolate. These are all the aromatic pieces supporting the primary fruit-driven aromas. On the palate the entry is luscious, juicy and shows very mouthwatering acidity. The tannins are very well managed, integrated and delicately linger on the finish.
The tasting room is located on part of the same property as the Hotel Villagio at The Estate Yountville; parking is either on Washington Street or a parking lot adjoining. Like most everything in Yountville, the tasting room is easily within walking distance of local shops, restaurants and several premium hotel properties.
Several levels of wine club memberships are available. Membership provides additional benefits including discounts on purchases, complimentary tastings and invites and opportunities to attend member-only special events and release parties. Silver Trident has also entered into partnerships with several hotels and resorts in Napa Valley with discounts given to visitors who reference special Silver Trident codes or otherwise call the properties to mention the Silver Trident special.
For more information, to purchase wine or to schedule a tasting, visit: www.silvertridentwinery.com
Very nice article, I wonder who makes those delicious wines?
That would be you, Kari Auringer of course! Making excellent balanced wines. Perhaps it sounds a bit odd as the winemaker is an integral part of any winery, but after visiting & tasting with more then 1,100 Napa wineries/producers to date, I’ve learned to not list the winemakers in my reviews (with certain exceptions such as the owner is also the winemaker) as winemakers tend to change rather often and it becomes extremely challenging to keep up with this. I listed a number of winemakers in my early reviews that have moved on – for those reviews I keep update ONCE that they used to make wine there, but I don’t continue to add info on the new winemaker(s).
Wine reviews are a particular moment in time that last. But trying to constantly update winemakers as they move around the valley, that is just not another aspect I need or want to update my notes with.
tom merle says
You make a good point Dave. However…you are reviewing specific wines from specific vintages. Even if there are personnel changes later, the wines are the wines; they too change over time. You are capturing a specific moment of production. Kari and other winemakers may move on but unless you update for later vintages, she did make these particular wines and deserves acknowledgement, IMHO.
That is fine, but I stand by my original statement – I have enough updating to do already, much less update all reviews of winemakers who are constantly moving around.