Silenus Winery – Zeus, Dionysus and Silenus!

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The Winery Name

The name goes back to Greek mythology. While we all know about Zeus and Dionysus, Silenus is a bit more obscure. Zeus, the god of all gods, had a son named Dionysus, known as the god of wine. When Dionysus was born, Zeus appointed Silenus to teach his son in the ways of enjoying the finer things in life, including wine drinking! They traveled together throughout their known world planting grapevines and raising bees for pollination while indulging in copious amounts of wine. In order to be known as they traveled, they carried a fennel stalk topped with a pinecone as a sign of hospitality. The Silenus label incorporates all of these elements: the grapevine, the fennel staff with a pinecone and bees.

The Winery

Founded in 1968 by Bruce Newlan, this 20 acre property went through many changes. The property is in the southern end of Napa Valley in the Oak Knoll District. In the 1970’s they sold many of their grapes to “upstarts” Mondavi and Inglenook. Realizing the quality of their grapes they chose in 2008 (with new ownership) to introduce their first vintage with the name Silenus on the bottle. Today Scott Meadows is President of Silenus Winery. They offer many varietals: Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Grenache, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Rose and a couple of blends. Several of the wines are for Club Members Only.

The Wine–2017 Silenus Cabernet Franc

The 2017 Silenus Cabernet Franc was entered into the National Cabernet Franc Wine Competition held on December 3rd, 2020. Their wine was awarded Double Gold by the People’s Choice Judges and a Silver Medal from the Professional Judges. The 2017 Silenus Cabernet Franc also was awarded the Best of Class by the People’s Choice Judges in the $31 to $50 category. This wine uses 89.2% Estate grown Cabernet Franc and 10.8% Cabernet Sauvignon. It is aged in 50% new French oak barrels for 22 months. they only produced 56 cases and will run out soon. On the eyes, it has a nice dark crimson color, with reserved aromas of blackberry, raspberries and earthiness. On the palate, black licorice, soft pipe tobacco with a hint of oak swirl in the mouth. The finish with its soft and rounded tannins and mild pyrazine (bell pepper flavor), provided a mid-lasting crescendo to the tasting.

The Food Pairing

Paired last evening with a seared Beef Filet to medium rare this wine was spectacular in its balance with the meat. Accompanying it was a Yukon potato and a fresh garden salad with Blue cheese dressing. A wonderful food pairing even Silenus would be pleased with today!




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