Her Silhouette Chardonnay

The Vintage: Playing chicken with Mother Nature. Vintage 2016 was another barn burner for the record books, but with a twist. The continuing pattern of warm night time temperatures established way back from 2012 was in full effect.  But this year the water spigot did not get fully turned off during the summer and we recorded measurable precipitation every month during the growing season.

We bore witness to the blogosphere reporting the Willamette Valley once again had pre-mature fermentation with one of the earliest harvests on record. And once again, Ernie would not get out the harvest bins until we saw a little mid-September rainfall. Note: Playing chicken with Mother Nature is not for the weak kneed or timid.

And pretty much right on par with 2015, our first significant rainfall occurred overnight on the 16th of September with 0.36 inches being recorded. We could not believe it. The soils were as dry as the day before, but the rain gauge does not lie. The wine berries were drawing up that soil moisture and continuing to develop aroma and flavor, just as if we had planned it that way, which, in fact, we had.

The 2016 harvest began in earnest at Amalie Robert Estate on September 23. It was a young block of Wadenswil grafted onto 44-53 rootstock at the highest elevation of the property that began the show. And then the mystery of the vintage began to unfold. The 28th of September recorded 0.86 inches of rainfall followed the next day by 0.27 inches. The first couple days of October brought another 0.93 inches. That’s over 2 inches of rain in a week! Now, we are getting somewhere, but only if you were able to hold out for the rains.

Is ripeness sugar accumulation or aroma and flavor development with moderate tannins? When and why do you harvest and who gets to make that decision? This is where the motivation behind contract vineyards and estate grown vines becomes apparent. Some blink, some don’t.

And that is when we got with the program. With each passing day of harvest, the sugar concentrations were dropping and the aromas and flavors were coming on strong. And since we leave leaves to shade our Pinot Noir, the aromas and flavors were elegant and perfumed.

The temperatures also began to cool considerably in September. The vintage accumulated 2,177 degree days, but only 300 of those were in September and the last 40 came in by mid-October. The heat came on just like voting - early and often. And then it was over. Vintages have consequences…

You can read the full Harvest After Action Report (AAR) on our FLOG (Farming bLOG):


Tasting Notes:  ​Bursting Sunflower radiates vivaciously setting the stage for an intense and unrelenting presentation of cool climate, stainless steel fermented, estate grown Oregon Chardonnay. Rich and concentrated unadorned flavors and textures envelope the palate and permeate the senses, framed by delineated acidity proving an enduring finish not soon to forget.

Culinary Inclinations: “Burgundy snails” butter poached escargots with cilantro, garlic and crusty sourdough bread. Panko with pepper breaded and paprika dusted  fried Calamari with a trio of garlic, jalapeño and cilantro aioli.

Her Silhouette Accolades:

2016 Her Silhouette

​Brilliant straw-yellow. High-pitched Meyer lemon and green apple aromas are complemented by suave jasmine and zesty mineral notes. Tangy and focused on the palate, offering bitter citrus zest and pear skin flavors that pick up a gingery accent with air. Shows a hint of fennel on the finish, which lingers with strong, subtly sweet tenacity.

         - Josh Raynolds, Vinous, February 2018 - 91 points

2015 Her Silhouette

White gold leaf shrouds hibiscus, Easter lily, passion fruit and pink grapefruit zest with Key lime and Meyer lemon intermingled. Crisp and delineated yet sustained and textured by the impenetrable core of unadulterated Chardonnay buttressed by the immovable support of refreshing acidity.

          - Amalie Robert Estate Tasting Notes

(all stainless steel and no malo) Pale yellow-gold. Aromas of tangerine, Anjou pear and white flowers, joined in the glass by a minerally element. Silky and focused on the palate, offering ripe orchard and citrus fruit flavors that tighten up and become spicier on the back half. Shows very good clarity and zesty cut on the finish, which leaves a refreshingly bitter orange zest note behind.

         - Josh Raynolds, Vinous, February 2018 - 91 points

This is a lovely, unadorned Chardonnay: no oak, no malo, just great fruit. The beauty and power of the Dijon clones is on full display, with penetrating citrus and apple fruit buoyed by punchy acidity that carries through a long finish.

         ​- Wine Enthusiast, October 2017 - 91 points, Editors' Choice

2014 Her Silhouette

Bursting sun-fire yellow. Meyer lemon zest, freshly sliced star fruit and a hint of exotic oils segue to the rich mouth feel that blankets the palate with layered Chardonnay fruit, balanced with echoing acidity, and culminating in an enduring finish.

          - Amalie Robert Estate Tasting Notes

Pale gold. Mineral-laced pear nectarine and pineapple scents take on a hint of toasty lees. Juicy and focused on the palate offering gripping pear skin lemon pith fennel and quinine flavors that show a refreshingly bitter edge. Closes dry and nervy featuring building mineral and anise notes and very good persistence.

         - Josh Raynolds, Vinous, January 2017 - 91 points

All stainless-fermented and aged, this deserves to be on your short list of can't-miss choices in a domestic Chardonnay. Year after year it scores well, with fresh, vivid fruit, a crisp and inviting mouthfeel, lively spices and ripe tree fruits. There's a seam of wintergreen running alongside in this new vintage, leaving your mouth feeling scrubbed clean.

          - Wine Enthusiast, August 2016 - 91 points, Editors' Choice

2013 Her Silhouette

Crystalline Safflower passes onto the prism of your palate, releasing the spectral flavors of Chardonnay. Vivid tangerine, guava and grapefruit peel permeate while being supported by zesty lime. A precisely aimed and laser focused palate of refreshing fruit character directs your attention to the fact that you like cleansing acidity in your Chardonnay. Linger on and prosper.

          - Amalie Robert Estate Tasting Notes

Light green-tinged yellow. Tightly focused lemon quince and mineral scents along with subtle herb and honey notes in the background. Chewy and dry on the palate offering bitter pear skin and peach pit flavors and a hint of tangy lemon zest that adds refreshing bite. Fleshes out slowly on the finish which hangs on with very good mineral-tinged persistence.

         - Josh Raynolds, Vinous, January 2017 - 90 points

Here is an outstanding stainless-fermented Chardonnay, thick and fruity. It's totally loaded with ripe apple and pear-pastry goodness, and the flavors dive deep into a thoroughly delicious, textural finish.

          - Wine Enthusiast, April 2016 - 92 points, Editors’ Choice

2012 Her Silhouette

Solar flare yellow releasing aromas of grapefruit zest, mountain laurel, guava and meyer lemon. This Chardonnay is voluptuous on the palate with a pleasing texture and elegant demeanor. The richness from a remarkable growing season is tempered with crystalline acidity to induce a lingering and articulate finish. 71 case production.

          - Amalie Robert Estate Tasting Notes

Lifted and light, this stainless-steel-fermented chardonnay reads almost like an Alsace wine, its heady apple scents lifted with peach notes. The flavors are invigorating and tense, the pear-like juiciness framed by a phenolic grip. Chill it down for clam pasta.

          - Wine & Spirits Magazine, December 2015 – 91 points, Best Buy

An interesting comparison to the previous vintage, this wine has a point and a half more alcohol, with a rich, substantial mouthfeel. Ripe citrus fruit, light tropical fruit and full, open flavors are found on the palate. Drink this while in its youth, and let the previous vintage age another couple of years.

          - Wine Enthusiast, June 2015 – 90 points

2011 Her Silhouette

Bright and lucid yellow introduces lemongrass, ginger root, grapefruit zest, and fresh mango flesh. Pineapple and crisp green apple contribute elegance and purity of flavor as they streak across the palate unencumbered by ambiguity. The laser focused finish permeates with enduring vibrancy.

          - Amalie Robert Estate Tasting Notes

If your tastes run to fruit-driven, all-stainless, crisp and steely Chardonnays, this is a great choice. Bright pineapple and citrus fruit flavors abound, and the acids, though substantial, are juicy and natural. The balance, freshness and overall value put this among best of class.

          - Wine Enthusiast, June 2015 – 90 points, Editors’ Choice

2010 Her Silhouette

Sunshine yellow in the glass leads to an intense expression of the chardonnay grape, complemented by ginger root zest and a hint of French tarragon. The palate texture is rich with a lime-kumquat mélange providing a drenching palate experience. Bracing acidity cleanses the palate leading to a lip-smacking and lingering afterglow.

          - Amalie Robert Estate Tasting Notes

2009 Her Silhouette

​Golden straw color portrays the sublime stainless steel fermentation. Aromas of lemon thyme, passion fruit and freshly zested Meyer lemon rind provide focus for the palate. The wine permeates the senses with balanced texture and a full exposure of citrus, star fruit and minerality which is captured in the discipline of acidity and length.  311 cases produced.

          - Amalie Robert Estate Tasting Notes

Tart and slender, this is deceptive at first it seems a little thin, but as it opens in the glass into a succulent, well-defined, racy wine with citrus and peach, mineral and herb. It's not delicate, but its muscularity is concealed behind elegant styling.

          - Wine Enthusiast, March 2011– 90 points, Editors’ Choice

Her Silhouette reveals Estate grown Chardonnay in its purest form. We strive to capture the pure, unadulterated essence of Chardonnay harvested at first light.

Her Silhouette is fermented in stainless steel at cool temperatures to showcase the aromatic profile of Chardonnay. We block the malo-lactic conversion to preserve Chardonnay’s natural acidity providing a disciplined finish.

The combination of Estate grown Dijon Clone fruit from sedimentary soils, stewarded through fermentation with very little winemaking intervention results in unrelenting aromas with an intensely flavored palate experience punctuated with trenchant acidity. This is intentioned Oregon Chardonnay that exemplifies the true character of the vineyard, vintage and the variety.