2011 'Silhouette' Chardonnay, Napa Valley
81% Merryvale Stanly Ranch Estate, 19% Hyde Vineyard
- Hand sorted and whole cluster pressed
- 100% fermented in French oak barrels
- Native yeast and malolactic fermentations
- Bottled unfiltered and unfiltered
Aged 18 months sur lie in French oak (100% new)
14.6% by volume
Silhouette is our most age-worthy white wine, and will gain complexity over the next 5-10 years.
Silhouette is Merryvale’s limited production, top white wine. Each vintage our very best Chardonnay fruit goes into Silhouette, and in 2011 the wine is comprised of grapes grown on our Stanly Ranch Estate Vineyard and the neighboring Hyde Vineyard in Carneros. The grapes for Silhouette were handpicked at peak ripeness, and hand sorted before a gentle whole cluster pressing. After long, cool native primary and malolactic fermentations with extended lees contact, the wine was aged for 18 months in 100% new French oak barrels (10 months on primary lees, additional 8 months on fine lees). Silhouette was bottled unfined and unfiltered.
2011 was a historically challenging year for Bordeaux red varietals in the Napa Valley, but it was a different story down south in Carneros. Our Chardonnay had already gone through bloom when the June rains hit, and were off the vine before the October rain. The moderate temperatures throughout the growing season led to great natural acidity and wines with terrific balance and complexity.
Our 2011 Silhouette is golden straw in color, with complex aromas of candied lemon, lychee, apricot, tangerine, ripe peach, baking spices, and wet stone. On the palate, the entry is very bright and leads to a generously framed mid-palate, with lots of fruit concentration, depth, and mid-palate volume. Flavors of citrus, crisp apple, and stone fruit are interwoven with complex barrel notes. The finish is lengthened by fine barrel tannins and notes of spice and toasted hazelnut.