Black & White in the Barn

CH: Bright green-gold, big butternut squash, honey and bitter herb.  As it warms to my preferred area of drinking Chardonnay–55°-60°F–more toasty oak surfaces, ferried along on sultry floral, tropical and wet rope.

PN: Dark ruby, running out to a garnet freeway before a wide clear edge.  Hazelnut dessert, chocolate pudding, strawberry ice-cream and a slight alcohol burn pull the rich, ripe nose together.  All the creamy taffy slathered together–ALL THE FLAVORS–make for a bouquet where only a slight sliver of that classic Anderson Valley briar and funk represent.  Oh… there’s funk here: A barnyard surfaces late-breathing, but it can be pretty hard to notice behind all that lush cherry and alcohol.  This thing HAS to be 14-5.

CH: In the mouth, crisp and bright, with a bit of heat doing its best to balance the butter & oak.  Acid soars into the super-rich upper levels of the late palate, where everything goes refreshingly bitter with tannin.  I don’t think any variety is quite so subjective to personal taste as Chardonnay, and this one has a lot of the earmarks I look for in a favorite.  They NEED to be a little elegant, maybe a touch chubby, NOT a vapid little shrew, but they also need a complement of structure, twisting and turning all that rich loveliness into manageable goodness with verve and an actual pulse.

PN:  In the mouth, dull and brooding, acid and tannin coming in to play shortly after entry and thinning down the entire mouth-feel.  Because of the obvious alcohol and ripeness, I brought this thing back down to cellar temps–very low 60’s–to pull some of the slighter nuances out of it without warm volatility getting in the way.  Fruit runs ultra-ripe cherry with sharp briar.  Where the Chard had all the bright straw and grassy notes, this has all the barnyard animals: wet oily hair, curry-comb and feed.   These wines are both gorgeous in their own way, and somehow related.  Beautiful side-by-side.

2015 FERRARI-CARANO Chardonnay Sonoma County 14.2

2014 FERRARI-CARANO Pinot Noir Anderson Valley Mendocino County 14.5

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