Wine and Wood — A Barrel Sampler

I recently had the chance to taste three very interesting bottles of 2013 Chardonnay made by Casa Larga Winery in the Finger Lakes region of New York. The wine was quite good, but that wasn’t the part that really held my attention. What made these three bottles so fascinating was that they were the same wine but each had been aged in a different type of oak: American, French, and Hungarian.

What ensued was a unique opportunity to compare the how the three different types of oak affect wine where the wood was the only variable. Once the Casa Larga staff knew I was interested, they (with a gleam in their eye) asked if I wanted to try it blind. Happy to play the game, I agreed, and the varietal character of the different oaks was expressed truly enough that I was able to correctly identify each. (Phew!)

You don’t have to travel to Casa Larga to try it for yourself. The winery sells all three wines through its website with delivery to 36 states. Invite some friends over and have your own blind tasting. I can’t think of a faster way to learn the key differences between the three oaks.

One more thing… winemaker Matt Cassavaugh told me that in future vintages he will be adding Russian oak to the line-up. Gotta say I’m looking forward to that!

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