Wine: Silverado Vineyards Napa County Chardonnay
Region: Napa Valley, Calif.
In the glass: Silverado Chardonnay is a pale golden-yellow color with crisp clarity going out into a glass with a clear pale rim with medium-high viscosity.
On the nose: It exudes lovely soft notes of warm apple pie and it has immediate upfront crushed white fruits, like pear juice, Braeburn apples; soft vanilla infused wood, pineapple, custard, minerals and underlying lemon rind.
On the palate: The wine reveals a flavorful balance between pears, apples and citrus on the fruit side and liquid minerals on the acidity side with lovely smoothness and a light to medium-bodied structure that delivers quite a balanced experience, which is commonly found in much more expensive chardonnays. It follows through with a nice subtle finish showing just a touch of age with apricots on it.
Odds and ends: Silverado Vineyards is a storied place in Napa Valley. Sitting on the corner of the Silverado Trail and Yountville Crossroad, it belongs in the prestigious Stag's Leap appellation and has been making wonderful drinking wines ever since the Miller family founded the winery in 1981. When I first came upon this winery, it was in 1990 and I was visiting from Hong Kong. I did a great tasting there and found that these were wonderful and balanced wines that perfectly represent the Stag's Leap district. Shortly after, I began importing these wines into Hong Kong and they became successful there.
It is like meeting an old friend with this chardonnay. Although not exactly the same as the company's top-end estate chardonnay, this is a great "little brother" and certainly overachieves at what I believe is a discounted price in the market right now. For less than $9, this is nothing short of a steal. It is a superb Napa white to drink with rotisserie chicken or duck and it is on a perfect plateau of maturity to enjoy now. Drink it through 2013.
Gil Lempert-Schwarz's wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89106-0749, or email him at email@example.com.