While winemaker at Zaca Mesa, Benjamin Silver started fooling around with small lots of Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc, and Nebbiolo. It was this experimentation that laid the foundation for what would become his own label, Silver Wines. After exiting Zaca Mesa, he started the work toward that goal and also became winemaker at White Hawk Vineyard.
Benjamin Silver Wines allows him to continue feeding his fascination of extremely small bottlings. He produces Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Viognier, Mourvedre, Syrah, Nebbiolo and Sangiovese - all grown in Santa Barbara County.
In 2006, through a series of unfortunate events, Silver found himself with a cancelled vintage, 144 barrels of wine and no place to store them. Two wineries did find enough space to accommodate them, and they stayed in their separate locations for a year.
Fifty Cask Tawny Red Blend is a very dark ruby color, tinged with amber. In the right light, it appears almost brown. Raisins, burnt caramel and alcohol dominate the nose, with rich oak tones cascading forth. The mouthfeel is full and tingly with tannins. Dark fruit plays a part, but the star of the show, obviously, is the decade of oak. Vanilla, brown sugar, clove, cinnamon, orange peel and nutmeg make cameo appearances, one after another.
At the risk of exposing myself as habit-driven, I could literally have this wine everyday. All. The. Time.
The Silver Fifty Cask is one of a kind, produced only one time in a batch of about 2,500 cases. The wine retails for $30 in the 500 ml bottle. The various wines aged for an average of ten years. Silver says it is good paired with a stinky cheese, a sweet dessert, or all by itself.
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