The Search for Silver

Back in April, while I was studying for my WSET Intermediate Certificate, I would reward myself on Sunday evenings for spending the weekend studying with a trip to my local wine bar. While I was there, I had my first experience with the 2006 Silver unoaked Chardonnay. As I often emailed and twittered (@Alleigh) during these tastings, I sent a message to several of my girlfriends telling them that I had just tasted one of the best Chardonnays I’d ever had, although, at that point in my wine education, I don’t know that I fully appreciated its artistry.

My girlfriends were intrigued by my description of the wine, particularly the few that said they didn’t like Chardonnay. I was convinced that they would feel differently about this wine, and I knew the perfect time to share the Chardonnay with them. This group of 7 ladies, who all live in different parts of the USA, were planning a small get-together around this time, and while I couldn’t join them, I decided to try and ship a bottle for them to try. Admittedly, I waited until the last minute and my efforts were thwarted because, at the time, I couldn’t ship the wine to Indiana because of state restrictions. I started to panic. Finally, an email frenzy began on the day the girls were all leaving, and several started calling their local wine stores to see if the store carried the 2006 Silver Chardonnay. After numerous calls (it was difficult to find), the Michigan ladies came to the rescue. They were able to find a bottle at Papa Joe’s Gourmet Market & Catering, so on the way to Indiana, the two women (and a baby) made a quick detour to purchase a bottle. With all the anticipation, I’m sure it was hard for the Chardonnay to live up to their expectations, but the group proceeded to email me while they enjoyed the bottle. Even though I missed drinking it with them, I was definitely there in spirit.

With a history like this, I couldn’t help but turn to the 2006 Silver Chardonnay this past Monday evening. Lately, I’ve felt like everything is average. Work has been average—I‘ve accomplished what I need to accomplish and there hasn’t been anything negative happening, but, at the same time, there hasn’t been anything truly exciting either. Even more disappointing, the wine I’ve opened has been average—not bad, all drinkable, but not speaking to me either. I needed something thrilling, so I opened the bottle of Silver to see if it was everything I remembered. And it was…

The 2006 Silver Chardonnay (winery, snooth) is an unoaked Chardonnay from the Mer Soleil Winery and is only the second vintage of this particular wine. It’s a medium lemon color, with some green flecks that speak to its relative youth. On the nose, there was a delicious and unusual combination of aromas. Citrus (lemon and lime) and green fruit aromas (apple and pear) dominated, but they were met with a hint of tropical fruit scents (pineapple). There was also a nice minerality mixed in with the fruits. In the mouth, there were strong lime flavors that were moderated by mango and pineapple flavors. There was also a hint of wet stone. The wine had a nice acidity and alcohol, with a fairly long finish.

Is this worth a glass after work? It’s worth more than one! What are you waiting for? At $43, some may consider this a little expensive for an everyday wine. However, wine is the winemaker’s form of artwork, and the 2006 Silver Chardonnay is a true masterpiece. It combines the crisp acidity and citrus flavors of a Chablis, which is a cool climate Chardonnay, with the tropical fruit lusciousness of a hot climate Chardonnay. The result is an unusual tasting wine with a medium body and a bit of tingle/fizz on the mouth, but enough acidity to be light and refreshing. The 2006 Silver Chardonnay would pair well with food, particularly white fish, shrimp, or summery fettuccine alfredo, but is also very enjoyable on its own.

Overall: 5 Corks

Comments

  1. Mark says

    I wonder if we’ll see more California Chardonnay producers adopting the process of fermenting the grapes in both stainless steel and cement vats, with no oak contact or malolactic fermentation. It’s amazing what a talented winemaker can do with such an unruly grape when they’re not trying to tame the injection of oak.

    Have you tasted any good inexpensive “unoaked” California Chardonnay?

  2. Alleigh says

    Mark, I sure hope that we start seeing more Chardonnay that bypasses both oak and malolactic fermentation. Not that those techniques can't produce good wines, as I've been known to enjoy a Chard that has undergone both, but the Chardonnay grape has a lot to offer on its own.

    As for inexpensive, unoaked Chards, I have a Clos LaChance that is under $15 and that I've heard good things about, but I haven't had a chance to try it yet. I've got my eye out, though, as this is one of my favorite styles.

  3. Mark says

    Alleigh,
    Thanks for the tip. I'll see if I can find the Clos at my wine store, and I'll check back in with you to exchange thoughts. Mark

  4. Beach Bum Marcie says

    Alleigh,

    I loved this …and I am one of those girls! And, I was PG at the time (gasp!) but I thought it was a great wine….thank you for being there in spirit!!

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