In its distinctive gray crockery bottle [it’s actually glass these days], this is unoaked Chardonnay for purists who nevertheless crave more than a little sunshine and sex appeal in their Chard. The curves come from lees contact instead of wood in this fruit-driven wine, offering up lemon rind, green apple and a complex texture that defies its price tag!
The Wagner family tradition that began with Napa’s Caymus Vineyards continues with third-generation grower and winemaker Charlie II in Monterey. Blessed with one of the coolest, driest weather patterns possible in the Santa Lucia Highlands, perfectly ripe grapes and long maturation are almost a given every year. The fruit is always sublime. The real trick takes place in the winery where two fundamentally different vinification techniques produce two radically different Chardonnays. The namesake Mer Soleil gets treated as a high-octane California Chardonnay. An ample amount of malolactic fermentation softens the acidity and barrel aging adds several seductive layers to the presentation in the glass. With Silver, it’s the mirror opposite. Same vineyards, same fruit, but the cellar program here involves concrete vessels instead of wood, and the emphasis is on vibrancy. Everyone seems to be in one camp or another, but whichever your stylistic preference, rest assured that these two are a whole lot of fun to drink. While some families pass down a watch, or a ring, five generations of the Wagner Family have passed along the gift of making world-class wines. Explore all the wines that built the legacy and continue the story including Belle Glos, Caymus, Conundrum, Meiomi and Mer Soleil.