(From 2009 Vintage)
Merryvale/Starmont: Rich with history, rich with flavor
The first winery built in the Napa Valley following the repeal of Prohibition, Merryvale is located in the heart of America’s premier wine region. A decade ago, the Merryvale operation was purchased by Jack Schlatter and family, with son, Rene, serving as company president.
After the Schlatter family bought it, they renovated the facility and started making wine under two labels: Merryvale and Starmont. Past wine makers include Ric Forman, succeeded by Bob Levy, who currently runs a couple of winemaking operations for Harlan. Following the tradition of great wine makers is Sean Foster as Merryvale’s senior winemaker, and is joined by winemaker Graham Wehmeier.
Merryvale has earned international acclaim for their wines’ outstanding quality – a result of maintaining their vision of turning Napa grapes into world-class wines. The carefully selected fruit is allowed to ripen fully, allowing flavor and tannins to reach maturity at the same time the sugar reaches its proper level. One sip,
and you’ll discover what an enlightened process this is.
Shooting for the Stars
Sister winery Starmont, is located on the historic Stanly Ranch in Carneros where John Stanly planted one of the first vineyards in Carneros in 1872. This green winery is powered by the sun.
The fruit for their 2009 Starmont Chardonnay is grown in the cooler areas of the Napa Valley, where the maritime influence ensures crisp, vibrant fruit. Named Best New World Chardonnay/Best of Varietal/Best of Class and receiving a Platinum Medal at the 2011 Jerry Mead New World International Wine Competition, this Chardonnay offers intense aromas of mandarin orange, fresh pear and melon,
while the mouthfeel is round and fleshy with a long layered finish.
"We have used the fruit from many fine Chardonnay vineyards to make this wine. From the cool Carneros, on both the Napa and Sonoma sides, to a number of sites in southern and mid Napa Valley and a Russian River Valley vineyard, each site adds subtly different character to the final blend. Native yeast fermentation in French oak barrels, malolactic fermentation and barrel aging on the lees all add to the wine’s richness and long finish. The wine has flavors reminiscent of apple, peach and pear and...
Connoisseurs' Guide to California WinesThis clean but uninvolving wine is impossible to fault for error other than its obvious lack of fruity substance, and its essential smallness directs it accordingly to near-term service with lighter fish and chicken fare.