Two Napa Valley Chards
In an effort to begin refining my tasting abilities, I am occasionally going to open two bottles of an identical varietal and then compare the two wines. For this first entry, we have the St. Supery Chardonnay Napa Valley 2000 and the Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Chardonnay Napa Valley Reserve 2001. Same grape, two different vintages, two different winemakers, and two very different styles. The St. Supery 2000 had a solid yellow color with pleasant aromas. I need to spend more time with Chardonnay to learn the aroma profile. It had a pleasant creamy mouthfeel with a hint of oak. Nicely done. Solid 85 on the WineGeek scale. The Stag's Leap 2001 Reserve was slightly paler in color, probably due to the age difference. It had distinctly oaky aromas, which seemed to me to override anything else. It was also creamy, with heavy oak influences producing that bite in the back of the throat. I'm not a fan of big, oaky Chards, but this was certainly acceptable. While this wine would not be my first choice for a California Chardonnay, and isn't my preferred style, it accomplishes the goal of producing a well balanced wine. Another solid 85 on the WineGeek scale. Both of these wines could be rated higher in the wine press, but I haven't looked to see. They are certainly very good examples of the different styles of Chardonnay from Napa Valley. The nod for the better of the two goes to the St. Supery since its oak was not dominating the experience.