Silver Wines Santa Barbara County – Review – James Melendez

I have rarely been wowed by California or even North America Sangiovese.  I think the struggle for Sangiovese is where to grow it and equally importantly how to vinify it.

I recall listening to a California wine maker who producing Italian varieties and I remember their comment was he said he “I cannot make Sangiovese in an Italian style…. my customers probably wouldn’t buy it.”  There is some expectation is for dark brooking fruit forward wine Sangiovese versus a Chianti-style Sangiovese.  An Italian style might be less fruit forward–perhaps like a tart early season cherry palate.

But I think there is another way to balance out Sangiovese–make them insofar as wines that reflect where the fruit is coming from and not make them into a Bordeaux style wine that often thought of as being the only great wines.

Who would want to do that anyway?

There are so many ways of making a Sangiovese but a compelling way is to let the grape express itself but not overly so.

I was fortunate to meet Ben Silver at Family Winemakers 2018 Grand Tasting in San Francisco.  I love talking to wine makers–I want their point of view and passion.  Ben Silver is a a winemakers winemaker.  I appreciate his viewpoint and his expression in a bottle.  While he does produce stellar Sangiovese he also produces fantastic Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah.  While there is Sangiovese in California, Washington, New Mexico, Texas and other states.  Sangiovese in general has not had the applauds as say the Burgundian or Bordeaux varieties.

California has Sangiovese planted in Northern and Southern California as well as the Foothills.  Sangiovese in my opinion is hard to get right outside of Italy.  Ben Silver shows that a great Sangiovese wines can be made in California.

Benjamin Silver Saviezza Santa Barbara County Sangiovese 2010

95% Sangiovese, 5% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.  This wine is not labelled a Sangiovese but has full right to labelled as such. Saviezza from the Italian means knowledge.

An homage to Chianti Classico–delicate and the age of 8 years in the bottle proves a harmonious wine–elegant and while an homage to Chianti Classico it is a sterling wine representing the fruit of Santa Barbara County.


Benjamin Silver Oak Savanna Vineyard Santa Barbara County Sangiovese 2013


Benjamin Silver Oak Savanna Vineyard Santa Barbara County Trentotto File 2010

This wine is 91% Syrah, 4% Mourvedre, 3% Grenache and 2% Viogonier


Benjamin Silver Oak Savanna Vineyard Santa Barbara County 724 Reddick Street MV

This wine is 49% Sangiovese, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Mourvedre, 6% Cabernet Franc, 3% Syrah and 3% Pinot Noir and is composed from vintages of 2010, 2011 and 2013


Benjamin Silver Oak Savanna Vineyard Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir 2013


Benjamin Silver Oak Savanna Vineyard Santa Barbara County Cabernet Franc

This Cabernet Franc is a composition of 77% Cabernet Franc, 14% Sangiovese, 5% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot.


I like the common theme of Sangiovese to tie and bind together many of Ben’s wines – the Saviezza, the Cabernet Franc and 724 Reddick Street.  Each wine is superbly lifted in terms of variety characterization and blend.  Thoughtful and complex and sophisticated wines expressing county of origin.

All of Ben’s wines are well priced ranging from Viognier $16 to Pinot Noir Cuvee Leah Mae for $56.00

Website:  Silver Wines



James the Wine Guy

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About James Melendez

I love wine and have had the privilege of working in the wine trade as a senior national wine marketing manager for a wine, food and home goods retailer in 30+ US States. I executed into making wine experiential and made 'wines of the world' programme work in a highly regulated framework for a successful business proposition. My "wine" site also incorporates those categories intimately involved with wine such as food, travel and lifestyle. This site incorporates my many dimensions of interest. I love to review and also talk about many aspects of wine. I have been privileged to visit many wine countries and find them enthralling no matter how many times I visit. I love all aspects of wine: viticulture, history, winemaking, brand development, wine regions and many more aspects. This is a living tradition that needs documentation, education, reporting and reviewing. Do I have favourite varieties and styles? I love so many varieties and often it is situational and yet there are time honoured wines that I anticipate and I am passionate about. I like all colours of wine and all styles. I have had a mad passionate affair with sparkling wines and they are always top of mind. Wine nourishes our soul and is the key to connecting with other people at our dinner table. Salute, James © 2014, 2017 James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy. James the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other social medias.
This entry was posted in Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese, Santa Barbara. Bookmark the permalink.

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