A Recent Visit to Silverado Vineyards is full of rediscovery...One of the many things that I love about Napa Valley is making discoveries. Just when you think you understand the fabled and illustrious region, you learn something new altogether. Still, every once in a while, what you thought you knew literally becomes new again. Such was the case for me on a recent visit to Silverado Vineyards. It had been over a decade since I visited, and although I had always appreciated the wines and bought them for the restaurants where I worked as a sommelier, I admit now that I eventually took the brand for granted. What I mean by that is that I knew that the wines were consistently good and that the winery was owned, operated and represented by talented people; yet I left it at that. What I failed to learn (until recently) is the incredible commitment that Silverado Vineyards has made to acquiring quality single vineyards and their dedication to estate-grown grapes. This speaks of wisdom in regards to commitment to both the quality of the wines and the long-term vision for the estate. The Miller Family has been in Napa Valley for 40 years and has been making great wines for over 30. What is most compelling to me is how carefully and systematically they have acquired and replanted exceptional vineyards. These sites range from a dynamic parcel in Coombsville called the Mt. George Vineyard, first planted, remarkably, in the 1860s, to the Miller Ranch Vineyard in Yountville, the source of the consistently delicious estate-grown Sauvignon Blanc. Silverado also owns and farms two extraordinary Chardonnay vineyards in Carneros: the Firetree and Vineburg vineyards, from which they craft the balanced and lively estate Chardonnay. Many people are familiar with Silverado Vineyards’ iconic red wines from the Stags Leap District, including their not-often-produced silver label Limited Reserve. These wines possess the long track record and merit the praise reserved only for Napa Valley’s finest Cabernet Sauvignons. To my palate, those wines belong in the Napa Valley legacy category. Silverado Vineyards has demonstrated that the estate-grown model is what works for them; the quality of the wines has never been better. Winemaker Jon Emmerich clearly appreciates balance and freshness in wines; all of the wines I tasted on my visit showed focus, harmony and site specificity. Tasting Highlights All wines are estate-grown: Silverado Vineyards 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Miller Ranch, Napa Valley Incredibly fresh and fragrant, lemonlime citrus, wet rock minerality, arugula and pepper. Silverado Vineyards 2013 Estate Chardonnay, Carneros Beautifully balanced flavors of apple and pear, judicious use of oak, lively on the palate. Silverado Vineyards 2012 Merlot, Mt. George Vineyard, Coombsville, Napa Valley A Merlot standout by the highest standards: dark fruits of fig and blackberry, structured yet well integrated; the wine is large and possesses incredible depth of flavor and very long finish. Silverado Vineyards 2012 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley Tremendous quality, the wine is full of rich dark fruits: purple plum, cassis, yet is dry and complex; there is earthiness and savory spice, firm tannins, a hint of cigar. Deeply delicious. Silverado Vineyards 2012 GEO Cabernet Sauvignon, Mt. George Vineyard, Coombsville, Napa Valley From the oldest vineyard in Napa Valley’s newest AVA, hails an extraordinary Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is demonstrative of the vineyard and the vintage: quality of highest order. The aromas are beguiling: huckleberry, violet, Indian spices. The palate is non-stop: full flavored yet completely balanced. The wine shows both power and finesse. It is exceptional. Silverado Vineyards 2012 SOLO Cabernet Sauvignon, Silverado Vineyard, Stags Leap District, Napa Valley This 100% heritage clone Cabernet Sauvignon represents a bold and pure expression of a legendary single vineyard in the celebrated appellation. The volcanic soils of SLD harmonize with the fruit and earth of the wine resulting in a triumphant and singular Cabernet Sauvignon.