California’s Napa Valley is most famous, of course, for its Cabernet Sauvignons, which vaulted the region onto the world wine stage decades ago. But Napa also has its intriguing outliers, and among them is this striking Sangiovese that tips its hat to Tuscany yet is Californian through and through.
The Borreo Ranch Vineyard is owned by Silverado Vineyards, a storied Napa producer, and is named after Felix Borreo, who owned and farmed it in the late 19th century. While Silverado is well known for its Cabernets, the Borreo Ranch Vineyard instead grows Sangiovese, the signature red grape of Tuscany, as well as Zinfandel and Kerner, a white variety developed in Germany that’s also grown in Sudtirol in northern Italy.
The 2018 Borreo Ranch Sangiovese is a gorgeous, balanced wine with red and blue fruit notes along with touches of mocha, black licorice, and orange rind. It’s fruit-forward with refreshing acidity and relatively soft tannins that make it easy to drink with all kinds of foods — from beef tenderloin to mushroom risotto to tomato-based sauces.
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The $38 wine is an interesting counterpoint to Napa Cabernets, which often benefit from considerable aging. The Borreo Ranch Sangiovese, by contrast, is in its prime right now, though it can certainly be cellared for a while. The wine was aged for 13 months in French oak barrels, and the wood influence is subtle.
Borreo Ranch is one of six vineyards owned by Silverado Vineyards, which farms a total of 360 acres in the Napa Valley. Silverado was founded in 1981 by the late Diane Disney Miller, the daughter of Hollywood legend Walt Disney, and her husband, Ron Miller, Disney’s former CEO. The winery remains in the family.