Wine Enthusiast Magazine

Wine writer: Matt Kettmann

2011 Pinot Noir Cuvee Leah Mae - August 2016

"This wine combines both the richer, ripe style of Pinot Noir with an underripe, herbaceous strategy. Dill, thyme, bay leaf and camphor show on the nose, as does dense elderberry and cranberry. The palate offers much woody intensity as well as green olives, baked tomatoes, peppercorns and annatto seeds, yet also shows baked black plum as the core fruit. Quite an intriguing combo." - 93pts

2009 I Tre Figli - November 2015 

"This powerful blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Sangiovese and 5% Cabernet Franc by longtime urban winemaker Benjamin Silver comes together in a big way. Aromas recall rosemary-crusted beef, boysenberry, sweet tar and, thanks to the oak-aging, both caramel and vanilla. The rich palate shows black cherry, black raspberry and a pinch of tarragon." - 90pts

2010 Pinot Noir Coteau Palmer  - September 2015

"...with fascinating aromas of exotic red fruits, sesame oil, maple syrup, hoisin sauce, Korean BBQ spareribs and smoked, coffee crusted meats.  It's in your face on the palate too, with pomegranate and rhubarb ripeness mixing into espresso and meatiness." 94pts Editor's Choice

2010 Nebbiolo - May 2015

"Benjamin Silver offers a very traditional tar and roses nose on this solid wine, with extra aromas of leather, iron, pipe smoke, iodine and beef jerky. The palate shows white pepper, roasted fennel and tight pomegranate fruit, with some gaminess and tobacco leaf, as well as grippy tannins that will continue to soften with time." 89pts

2009 Syrah Santa Barbara County - June 2015

"Grape jelly, pipe smoke, lilac cologne, woody incense and a bit of tar show in the nose of this wine.  Flavors of blackberry, wet tobacco, gamy meats and beef jerky are pleasantly rustic." 88pts 

2010 Trentotto File Syrah - March 2015 

"Beautiful aromas of roasted pork in a blackberry-licorice reduction sauce pick up a bit of grape candy before hitting the palate with black pepper, blueberries and solid tannins. It’s fun…" 92pts

March 2005 House & Garden Magazine

"Uncorked" pp 59-60.
Jay McInerney

2001 Silver Julia's Vineyard Pinot Noir Richest: dark black cherry fruit. A medium- to full-bodied wine with a wonderful mouth-coating texture and a heavy dose of the Julia's Vineyard smoke. Complete. Powerful, rich, and long lasting in the mouth. $45

"Sleeping Beauties"

by Rachel Berlin - Wine Editor for L'Italo-Americano

Download the Article "Sleeping Beauties" »

Santa Barbara News Press (April 2004)

Dennis Schaefer

* 2002 Silver Viognier, Vogelzang ($22): Completely typical viognier nose of apricot, peach and minerals; it has those esters that make it seem like it could pass for a fine perfume. It has a big impact on the palate, with lovely flavors of melon, peach, apricot and other stone fruits that finish soft on the back of the palate. Classic viognier that's a great partner with food.

* 2000 Silver Pinot Noir, Lake Marie ($40): Plenty of bright red and black fruits here to chew on, with a Burgundian earthiness to keep things interesting. The spice rack is in evidence here as well as a pleasant touch of decaying leaves and forest floor. But the lasting impression is that of concentrated fruit that shows good finesse.

* 2000 Silver Pinot Noir, Julia's ($45): Crushed berry nose, intense with flavor, but also very elegant and stylish. Its rich and dark flavors are still very much evident and, while it is soft and supple at this point, it still has room to develop. Almost syrah like in its raciness and depth.

* 2001 Silver Syrah-Mourvedre, Larner ($22): This first effort from the Larner Vineyard comes off very much like a good Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Tar, fresh asphalt and dark fruits on the nose, with dark fruits, including dark cherries, on the palate. Black pepper, spice, saddle leather and dried cherries also insinuate themselves into this heady, full-bodied mixture that really coats the mouth. Great to serve with grilled meats.

Look for the following wines to be released over the next 12 months:

* 2001 Silver Nebbiolo ($22): It's hard to reduce this wine to its components because it's already showing a myriad flavor facets, as well as complexity and depth. There is the nice ripe fruit, informed with a bit of saddle leather and aged meat, but what really makes the wine work is its scintillating acidity and great finesse.

* 2001 Silver Sangiovese ($28): Bright red fruits up front here, with plenty of cherry and strawberry, as well as spice, with a pinch of clove and cigar box. The fresh and ripe fruit flavors make this one so easy to drink right now, plus it's a great match-up for Italian cuisine.

* 2001 Silver Cabernet Sauvignon ($30): Dark currants and red/black berry fruits are the obvious aromatics. Round, rich and full-bodied in the mouth, with the berry side of the flavors coming through, permeated by hints of chocolate. It lets up a bit on the finish but the initial wave of flavors resonate on the palate, leaving an impression of sweet fruit and suppleness.

* 2001 Silver I Tre Figli (The Three Sons) ($35): A very special wine, this blend of cabernet sauvignon, sangiovese and cabernet franc is a great amalgam of berries, spice and wood, but also shows a nice floral component, too. The sangiovese contributes the fruit forward strawberry flavors, but also a sense of velvet plushness. The cabernet gives the wine depth as well as the backbone and structure for aging. And the cab franc adds dark violet and spice flavors and supple tannins to the framework. A lovely and compelling wine that will only get better with bottle age.

Tasting Notes by Anthony Dias Blue

Host Guide: 99 Bottles of Wine: The Holiday Host / Robb Report Magazine

Benjamin Silver Wines 2000 Pinot Noir, Julia’s Vineyard, Santa Barbara
“Another brilliant Santa Barbara Pinot with silky, deep cherry and berry flavors; complex and delicious.”

American Way Magazine (2/1/2004) - Wine List

All these wines are limited-release items that are definitely worth a search.

Benjamin Silver Viognier Vogelzang Vineyard Santa Barbara 2001 ($24)
Dark and concentrated with honey, minerals, and an excellent acid structure.

Recommended Cal-Italian Wines from
Benjamin Silver Sangiovese 2000: "Bursting with rich blackberry fruit and lovely juiciness."

Cabernet Franc
"The smoky Silver Cabernet Franc 2000, Santa Barbara has dusky tones of chocolate and plum.

Winery Visit Barrel Tasting: November 2003
Santa Barbara Food & Home

(Spring 2003)
Wine Country, Top Cellars
Editor's picks: 1998 Nebbiolo and 2000 Sangiovese

These two Italian varietals could not be more different. Sangiovese, the grape that makes Chianti, wears its heart on its sleeve, so to speak: friendly, juicy, great with a grilled steak or wood-fired pizza, and ready to drink almost from the day it is bottled. Nebbiolo, from the Italian word for fog, is more mysterious, austere and tannic when young-undrinkable really, until age has softened it and revealed the grand wine it is. Barolo, arguably Italy's greatest red, is made from the Nebbiolo grape. Young winemaker Benjamin Silver has tackled both extremes here, and succeeded impressively. The Nebbiolo is barely old enough to drink now-make sure to decant it, but buy it soon because it is almost gone. At $26/bottle, it is actually a bargain for a wine worth aging. No need to wait before opening the Sangiovese. The bouquet is fully open, and it will delight your dinner guests. $28/bottle.

San Francisco International Wine Competition

2003 Results

Benjamin Silver Wines
2000 Santa Barbara $30 Cabernet Sauvignon GOLD
2000 Santa Barbara $25 Cabernet Franc SILVER
2000 Santa Barbara $28 Sangiovese SILVER
2000 Julia's Vineyard Santa Barbara $45 Pinot Noir SILVER
2000 Santa Barbara $22 Nebbiolo BRONZE

2004 Results

2001 Syrah-Mourvedre Larner Vineyard - Silver
2001 Pinot Noir Julia's Vineyard - Silver
2001 Pinot Noir Lake Marie Vineyard - Bronze
2001 Sangiovese Tepusquet Vineyard - Bronze

LA County Wine Fair Competition - Limited Production

2004 Results

2001 Pinot Noir Julia's Vineyard - Gold
2001 Pinot Noir Lake Marie Vineyard - Bronze
2001 Nebbiolo - Bronze
2001 Sangiovese Tepusquet Vineyard - Bronze

2003 Orange County Wine Competition

Benjamin Silver Wines
2000 Cabernet Sauvignon - SILVER
2000 Pinot Noir Lake Marie Vineyard – BRONZE