Sunday, October 24, 2004

Winecology: Taz Chardonnay 2002 Santa Barbara County, CA vs. Black Star Farms "Arcturos Sur Lie" Chardonnay 2002 Old Mission Peninsula, MI

I drank these two very different chardonnays earlier this week and am just getting around to posting my notes. Because I'm still a learning oenophile I enjoy tasting two wines made from the same grape side by side. It gives me an opportunity to (a) understand the range a wine made from a particular grape can take and (b) figure out what my personal preferences are within that range of tastes, aromas, textures, etc. As chance would have it, these two wines were so different that it presented a perfect opportunity to explore chardonnay's range. The impacts of each winemaker's process and the varying terroirs had an appreciable impact.

Taz is a really big, heavy duty wine. It had gold colors in the glass and powerful toasty vanilla aromas. The oak-induced flavors of toast, smoke and coffee were intense and overwhelming. The finish was solid. This is a good wine that likely had some lengthy barrel aging. The oak flavors dominate and ultimately create a larger-than-life white wine, of which I'm not a fan. Perhaps with time hearty whites will grow on me, but for the moment...I'll pass.

Rating - 7.5 out of 10
Price - $20

"Arcturos Sur Lie" is from Black Star Farms, located "up north" in Michigan - near Traverse City. I picked this up from their tasting room in Paw Paw just off of I-94 while driving home from Detroit. I'll try and feature more Midwestern wines because I feel they're underexposed and in my limited experience pretty good (especially when made from Alscace style grapes). This wine was more subtle and fruity than Taz. It had light straw colors in the glass. The nose had delicate aromas of mineral and citrus fruits. In the mouth, the flavors went from grapefruit to vanilla. The finish was lasting and zesty.

Rating - 9.0 out of 10
Price - $10