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Silver Chardonnay a winner -- and the bottle is great, too!

With gold prices in the stratosphere these days, they say silver is making a comeback.

And with this Silver, I can certainly see why!

Once of the nicest Chards I’ve had in ages, I discovered it thanks to a hostess gift my cousins brought me during one of many get-togethers my husband and I hosted over the course of the summer. While we usually take holidays, we decided to do a staycation this year since I’d been travelling a fair bit in the spring, AND primarily because we were renovating our downstairs bathroom with the help of a friend.

(Consequently, I learned two lessons for future Julys and Augusts — always get away from home for awhile, and never — I repeat, NEVER — do renovations during the warmer months. Life is too short — and so is the summertime.)

Anyway, said cousins not only have great taste, they’re crazy-generous, and the bottle of wine they brought to indulge me (yet again) was the fabulous Mer Soleil Silver Chardonnay.

With aromas of butter and grass — maybe even hay — I have to admit I wasn’t completely enamoured right off the bat. When it came time to sample it, the Silver had a fairly pronounced mineral quality, which turned out to be its charm. But this was my first taste of the day, and in order to appreciate this wine, my palate, apparently, needed a little priming.

So naturally, I took another sip. This was better. The minerality was starting to shine now — there was a clarity that was sort of like ice-cold water from an underground stream. (Not that the wine was ice-cold, you understand. It just had that almost indescribable taste of the purity — the naturalness, if you will — of spring water burbling out of the earth.)

On sip number three, I started to nod and smile. By taste four, I was beaming.

And by taste five, I was in love.

How I adored — and adore — this wine! An unoaked Chard, the 2010 Silver is a gem. It’s a mass of contradictions — smooth but brightly acidic, light but with some heft, delicate but full of flavour (stone fruit, lemon and the aforementioned minerality).

Rather than claiming, as some vintners do, that the mineral taste in the wine comes from terroir (the soil in which the grapes are grown), the folks at Mer Soleil are quite up front about the fact that the Silver’s minerality is drawn from the limestone-based cement tanks in which this Chardonnay is fermented and aged.

The only drawback for regular consumption is the price — $28.95. And while in my opinion the wine itself is worth it, Mer Soleil has made the Silver Chard a more enticing purchase by selling it in a funky ceramic bottle. While the container LOOKS cool (and its composition echoes the cement tanks the wine is aged in), it also helps KEEP the wine cool for an extended period of time.

In fact, here’s a tip straight from the producers — once you’ve finished the last delicious drop of this wine, wash the Silver Chard’s ceramic bottle and store it in the freezer. Then, when you want to serve other white wines, decant them into the Silver container, because it’ll keep the wine cold for an extended period of time. As someone who loves her white wine cold, that sounds like an added bonus to me. And the Silver would certainly make a great gift, since the wine is wonderful and the unusual bottle can be kept and used in a functional way. On a side note, I’m betting each time the recipient uses it, they’ll think of the thoughtful people (who obviously have great taste) who gave it to them in the first place! That’s certainly been the case for me.

Since we were home all summer and the weather was pleasant so much of the time, I consumed a fair bit of Chardonnay. So even though fall is definitely upon us, I have several more Chards to tell you about in upcoming columns — some previously enjoyed but long-forgotten ones, as well as a smashing new one that, again, was gifted to me by a friend. I’ve since bought at least half-a-dozen bottles of it. But that info will follow in future instalments of Vine Lines.

While today’s featured product was certainly up there price-wise, be sure to check out what I have for you next week. In my mind, it’s the bargain of the year!

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 22, 2012

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With gold prices in the stratosphere these days, they say silver is making a comeback.

And with this Silver, I can certainly see why!

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With gold prices in the stratosphere these days, they say silver is making a comeback.

And with this Silver, I can certainly see why!

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