Pulls out all the stops to create a big, massively complex wine. Despite the flamboyant tropical fruit flavors and rich spiciness supplied by oak, the wine never loses control of itself. It’s a tame lion. Fills the mouth with creamy flavors and sensations that roll on and on. The finish returns to the spicy-fruity theme with a hint of smoky honey. —S.H.
Silhouette typically is held back a little longer than most Chards, which seems to soften it slightly. Still, the ’03 is as fresh and pure in fruit as a young wine. It brims with ripe green apple butter, pineapple custard, butterscotch and spicy rum flavors that are well-oaked, and has none of the herbaceousness that often marks Napa Valley Chardonnay. Drink now–2009.
Silhouette is Merryvale’s small-production best of barrels blend from the winery’s various vineyards. The ’08 is a success, showing brisk acidity and new oak and yeast flavors and a creamy texture framing ripe pineapple, pear and mineral flavors. It’s an elegant wine that shouldn’t be served too cold.
Lots of new oak and lees lend this wine toasty, yeasty, creamy notes, with vanilla on the finish. The fruit? It’s green apples and papayas, with liberal acids. Feels a bit tight now, and could develop for a few years.
Oak and tropical fruit are highlights of the aroma, which also includes buttercream, vanilla and a leesy streak. Flavors are dominated by toasty oak, with butterscotch, vanilla custard, and crème brûlée wrapped around a solid core of apple. For fans of big-boned, sweet Chards.
Made from best barrels, this wine offers more richness and satisfaction than Merryvale’s Reserve bottling, although it’s far from a big wine. Flavors of peaches and apples are restrained. Oak plays a vital role here in enriching and fattening the wine.
Even at three-plus years, this Chard still tastes young and tight. It’s perfectly dry, with high acidity and an earthiness that covers citrus and peach flavors. It will never be a big, over-the-top wine, but it’s a fine one that should develop additional complexities over the next five years.
Sourced from three great Chardonnay vineyards (Stanly Ranch, Hyde and Silverado-Suscol), this Chard is enormously flavorful in fruit custard flavors and new oak. It’s delicious, but a little obvious, especially on the oak side, and could have more complex nuances and angles. Drink now.