In the early days of Napa Valley wine, Cab was not king. Many of Napa’s first settlers immigrated from European homes looking for a better life, bringing cuttings and rootstocks from their native countries, planting the grapes their families had been farming for generations.
For many Italian immigrants, this was Sangiovese. Though the variety rarely remains in the region today, as the value for Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon fruit is significantly higher than Sangiovese fruit, there are a few pockets of rolling hillsides, similar to that of Tuscany, where the variety still thrives. Soda Canyon is one of them.
Located on the way up to Atlas Peak, in the southern end of the valley, Silverado Vineyards recently renamed their hillside estate, Soda Creek Ranch in Soda Canyon, Borreo Ranch in honor of the founder of the property who first planted the estate vineyards in 1888. Felix Borreo was a grocer from Italy who planted vineyards on the property, along with olive trees, citrus orchards, pomegranate and fig trees, bringing some of his Italian heritage to Napa Valley.
The estate is still covered in these trees. Their essence comes through in Silverado’s Borreo Rose of Sangiovese ($65 for a magnum bottle). Juicy and lush, the bright, salmon-colored Rose shines with layers of wildflowers, tangerine, red cherry, cranberry, and a touch of sun-dried tomato. A beautiful wine for pairing with grilled shrimp or salmon, or roasted duck.