The Malo to Lactic (ML) conversion happens virtually all the time in red wines. In white wines winemakers typically have a choice to encourage or discourage this conversion. Mistakes (known as uncontrolled experiments or, sometimes, successful failures) happen all the time in winemaking. In some circumstances, you will have the ML conversion whether you want it or not. The opposite is also true. You can wish in one hand and wait in the other, but it’s just not going to happen. Maybe next year, but that’s a long time to wait.

We made the stylistic (and intentional) choice to change our ML program in 2019. Over the last 20 years or so, we have noticed our site affords a bit of a Sancerre expression in our Chardonnay that provides some intrigue. Ernie wanted to try and expand on that, while better integrating and softening the screamin' greenie experience. That, and Dena said we are not planting any Sauvignon Blanc.

So as part of our unquenchable thirst for knowledge and unabated appetite for risk, Ernie said, “What the Hell, let’s give it a try!” And that is how we arrived at the 2019 Dijon Clones Chardonnay - "No Oak, Full Malo".

The Vintage: It all comes down to September. It used to be October, but things have changed and as farmers we are along for the ride. Vintage 2019 was a moderate growing season with adequate amounts of sun, wind, rain and wind all properly folded into the mix. Until September. That’s when we recorded a record amount of rainfall from the beginning to the end of the month. Of course, it was just lovely from there on out and that is when we were out Cluster Plucking. Read all about The Great Cluster Pluck on the FLOG!​

Tasting Notes:  ​Cold Fusion Yellow releases Meyer lemon zest, star fruit and guava aromas delineating an unadulterated and pure expression of Dijon Clone Chardonnay. Integrated, viscous and expansive, the midpalate is wholly enveloped with a lingering silken texture before the smooth and palate cleansing delivery of tempered acidity.

Culinary Inclinations: Poached black cod or shark (if you are a little slow working the reel), in parchment with julienned green onions, fresh sliced ginger root, enoki mushrooms and artichoke heart. Add a thin slice of Habanero pepper if you want to add some color to your dining companion’s complexion.

Her Silhouette Accolades:

2018 Her Silhouette

Lemon Yellow Marigold entices while guava, starfruit and variegated thyme entertains the olfactory complex. A purity of Chardonnay flavors and textures stimulate and permeate, but do not exacerbate the focused, crisp and delineated finish coming right down the line, making all the requisite stops along the way.

          - Amalie Robert Estate Tasting Notes

2017 Her Silhouette

Chiffon Harvest Rose yellow introduces star fruit, passion fruit, tamarind and quince paste aromas leading to an admirably concentrated, voluminous and scintillating palate expression of quintessential Chardonnay. Focused and well placed acidity seals the deal.

          - Amalie Robert Estate Tasting Notes

2016 Her Silhouette

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.

          - Amalie Robert Estate Tasting Notes

​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

So, what’s new about the 2019 Dijon Clones Chardonnay? We have retired the Her Silhouette fanciful name in favor of a more informative name. The Dijon Clones of Chardonnay are the new vines on the block. The vines were brought into Oregon direct from Burgundy just about the time we were establishing the vineyard at Amalie Robert Estate. And they make a damn fine wine. It also eliminates any confusion that we are growing that much maligned 108 clone out of California.

The primary fermentation of sugar to alcohol is still done without oak influence. Stylistically, the Her Silhouette was colloquially known as “No Oak, No Malo”. We have moved on. And you can too! All it takes is a little bacterium and all of that malic acid becomes lactic acid. If that sounds yummy, it’s because it is. Lactic acid is the acid in goat's milk, and you get yummy goat cheese from goat's milk. Malic acid is from your granny’s “screamin’ greenies” green apples that she grew out on Boone’s Farm road. Remember her? That was before cellphones, and cellphone cameras, fortunately.

Dijon Clones Chardonnay

We are very proud to introduce to you our estate grown 2019 Dijon Clones Chardonnay! Kinda rocks your world, we know. Here is what didn’t change. Ernie still grows this wine in block 24. The block still has 1,089 vines of Dijon Clone Chardonnay, with the field blend favoring clone 76 over 95. The rootstock is still that mother of all rootstocks, 5C. And yes, we still produce the BFC Heirloom Cameo. Starting to feel the hairs on the back of your neck relax, maybe just a bit?

Besides, how can you have Champagne Deconstructed without Chardonnay? If you have time for a little home schooling, pick up a six pack of Champagne Deconstructed. Your order will contain 2 bottles each of 2019 Dijon Clones Chardonnay, 2018 Pinot Meunier and 2012 iPinot Pinot Noir, complete with examination sheets. Don't delay, order yours today and shipping will be included through Mother's Day!