The Napa Valley Icon Silverado Vineyards Joins Our Portfolio
In 1981 Ron and Diane Miller established Silverado Vineyards to make wines from the six sites at the cooler southern end of the Napa Valley that comprise their estate. These historic vineyards, from which all of Silverado’s wines are made, were originally planted by Napa pioneers between 1865 and 1895. Each site is now planted with the most suitable varieties and clones – in fact the Stags Leap property is the source of one of only three of California’s ‘heritage’ clones of Cabernet. Since foundation they have innovated both in the vineyard, moving from cordon training to more labour intensive cane pruning, as well as in the winery where they were early adopters of extended maceration and more recently in their use of special small, stainless steel barrels. Stylistically, the wines lean towards elegance and fragrance rather than power and weight. As winemaker Jonathan Emmerich says, “Wine has to be delicious. It is meant to be a pleasure.”
Each one of the estate’s vineyards has its own distinctive flavours and character and is planted with the right variety to match the soil type, aspect and climate. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot come from the Silverado Vineyard in Stags Leap District and Mount George Vineyard in Coombsville where they grow particularly successfully on the sloping volcanic gravelly loam soils. The Miller Ranch Vineyard in Yountville is the source for Sauvignon Blanc, where the cool mornings and evenings help to maintain balance and acidity in the grapes. Chardonnay comes from the Firetree and Vineburg Vineyards in Carneros, where the deep sandstone, shale and gravelly loam soils, combined with a near constant cooling breeze from the San Pablo Bay provide perfect conditions for producing a wine with intensity, minerality and elegance.
The range consists of five wines, all of which come entirely from the estate’s own vineyards.
The Miller Ranch Sauvignon Blanc undergoes a long ferment of between eight and nine weeks, followed by a period of extended lees ageing and weekly battonage to give a rich and textured wine with flavours of grapefruit, tangerine and citrus.
The Estate Chardonnay, sourced from the two vineyards in Carneros, is fermented in a mixture of stainless steel barrels and French oak, followed by six months lees ageing with regular battonage. The result is an elegant wine with fine acidity, flavours of sweet citrus, honeysuckle and subtle smokey notes.
Mount George Merlot comes from vines planted on the volcanic soils of the Mount George Vineyard which retain water so well that irrigation is never needed. An extended post-fermentation maceration period , followed by a further seventeen months’ ageing in French oak give a wine with enticing flavours of rosemary and mint, with notes of cocoa and spice on the finish.
For the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, around half of the grapes come from the Silverado Vineyard in Stags Leap with the remainder from Mount George in Coombsville and Oakville Station. The Cabernet from Stags Leap is more elegant and refined, whereas the Mount George portion adds structure and spice. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel, with an extended maceration period, followed by around eighteen months in French oak barrels. The result is a perfect expression of modern Napa Cabernet, never over-extracted but pure, elegant and refined.
The flagship Solo Cabernet Sauvignon comes from a single block of Cabernet Sauvignon , planted with the Silverado-Disney ‘Heritage’ Clone, one of only three such ‘Heritage’ clones identified by UC Davis, producing grapes with intense plum, red currant and cassis characters. Following fermentation in stainless steel the wine is aged in a mixture of new and second-fill French oak barrels. This wine perfectly showcases the unique terroir of Stags Leap. Drinkable at an early age, it is concentrated yet velvety with pure, ripe fruit and a savoury complexity.
Sustainable farming is a cornerstone of the Silverado philosophy. Fifteen percent of the vineyards are farmed organically and seventy percent are Certified Napa Green – a comprehensive environmental certification program for vineyards and wineries in the Napa Valley. Fifty percent of the winery’s power is also derived from their own solar panels. Silverado Vineyards’ approach to sustainability is not just limited to farming practices – they also ensure that they support the local community. Winery workers are compensated above the average for Napa and receive comprehensive benefits alongside this.