Today is the second Wednesday of the month, and lately that means it's Wine Blogging Wednesday.
This month's edition--the events 32nd--is hosted by The Wine Cask Blog, which has asked participants to compare two wines from the same winery and same vintage, but one a 'regular' bottling and the other a 'reserve.' Definitely a fun concept and one I looked forward to.
Rather than just do one comparison, I decided to do two pairs--one white, one red, one from the Finger Lakes, one from Long Island.
Starting with the whites, I tasted and compared two 2005 chardonnays from Treleaven Wines (made by King Ferry Winery).
The regular bottling retails for $13 and is definitely made in an every day style. The nose is pretty tight but has some floral and lemony aromas with a little vanilla in the background. It's fresh and pretty lively in the mouth with nicely balanced citrus flavors with just a little oak character and some minerals on the finish. All in all, it's a nice wine for the money. Definitely a wine worth drinking.
For an extra four bucks, you can upgrade to the reserve bottling. Here, the flavors are similar but a bit richer, fuller and less austere. The vanilla and oak is more obvious on the nose with a little spice joining the floral and citrus aromas. The body is slightly fuller as well, with softer (but still balanced) mouthfeel and a juicy peach note towards the end. In this case, for only an extra four bucks, I'd buy the reserve most of the time. But, both are good.
Moving to the red wines, let me first say that this was going to be a three-tier tasting, but I couldn't find a bottle of Wolffer Estate's 2001 La Ferme Martin merlot, their entry-level merlot. So, with the theme in mind, I was left with two, but they are from one of Long Island's best vintages, 2001.
The reserve merlot ($17) offers red berries and lots of cherry with tobacco, vanilla and a little green herb on the nose. The palate is medium bodied and elegant with fine tannins, red berries, vanilla and a tobacco note towards the end. There was a time when this was our house red because it's extremely food friend and versatile. It's flavorful but not overpowering.
Made with grapes from their oldest merlot vines and with more new oak, the estate selection merlot is $35 and clearly a much more flavorful and ripe. Darker in the glass and more aromatic, the nose offers darker fruit, with plum and blackberry joining the cherry flavors along with some smoky cedar. The palate is slightly fuller boddied with firmer--though still ripe--tannins. Ripe, full blackberry and plum flavors are there from start to finish with a much fuller, flavorful mid-palate and a much longer finish that ends with a vaguely minty note.
This is a much tougher choice, given the price difference, but I'm still thinking it's worth upgrading to the higher-level wine. At $35, it's not for every day but it's very much worth the splurge.