I was thinking this morning about how wineries (and to a certain extent wine writers) talk about wine. You always hear about whether or not a wine was fermented in an oak barrel, and if so, what type of oak and how many times its been used. Quite often, you'll also hear about clonal selection and even rootstock.
But for some reason, yeast strain is almost never talked about. The only time you even hear about yeast is if a winery is using naturally occurring yeasts to ferment a particular wine. And yet, the yeast strain a winemaker uses has a great impact on the flavors in the wine. This just struck me as interesting. Perhaps the average drinker just doesn't want to think about yeast?
Anyway, when I tasted the wines of Onabay Vineyards a couple weeks ago, my favorite of their all-chardonnay white lineup was their Onabay Vineyards’ 2006 “Wild Ferment” Chardonnay ($25) which, as the name implies, was fermented using naturally occurring yeasts.
White flowers, ripe Bartlett pear and a light sprinkling of baking spice mingle on the nose before giving way to elegant tree fruit, spice and candied lemon peel flavors on the palate. This wine is well balanced with acidity and has a long finished that tastes of baked pear and toffee.