Please welcome Richard, the Editor of Connecticut Food & Wine, as he shares with us the second edition of his Wine Battle series!
Welcome to the second edition of Wine Battle!
This week I chose two more local wines
right off the shelf from an excellent wine shop called Seaside Wine & Spirits
in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. Sharpe Hill Vineyard’s 2008 Chardonnay
came in at $14.99
and Jonathan Edwards 2009 Connecticut Chardonnay
(an important distinction since they also produce wine in California) came in at $21.99
. The challenge was to find two wines made from the same grapes, from two different local producers, that are also found in the same wine shop for sale- and put them to the test against each other.
First I opened both bottles and let them breathe at room temperature for about one hour. Some people prefer to drink white wines slightly chilled, but in order to really taste the character and subtle differences it is essential to taste at room temperature
as the coolness dulls some of that complexity. Sharpe Hill
is located in Pomfret, Connecticut and is the state’s largest and most award winning winery
, earning over 250 medals in international wine competitions. Opening it’s doors in 1997, the vineyard is set on one hundred scenic acres and features an excellent restaurant on site.
Their 2008 Chardonnay has 12% alcohol by volume or ABV, with a pale straw yellow hue and a slight haze. Take a sniff and you will find a wonderful toasty buttered popcorn aroma wonderfully crafted by the right handling in oak. The taste is smooth, creamy full mouth feel with a little sour apple on the attack, and a beautiful caramalized sugar flavor on the finish. This is like Halloween 1992 with a huge amount of buttered popcorn ball in the glass (do they still hand those out on Halloween?), but in a very good way! This delicious gem is our winner!
is set on a beautiful piece of property in North Stonington, approximately 40 miles south of Sharpe Hill. They produce wines both with their Connecticut grapes and also with fruit they harvest from vineyards whom they have long term contracts with in Napa, California. Of course, I chose the appropriate CT variety to battle against Sharpe Hill.
This bottle from 2009 has an ABV of 12.5% very slightly higher than the competition, and was priced a hefty $7 higher. With much less oak, this Chardonnay was crystal clear with a lighter color hue and a very aromatic fresh crushed pineapple scent. A really wonderful citrus peel blast in your nose with a sweet, light body with crisp acidity. This is a totally different style of wine than the Sharpe Hill Chard, and is more of the new world approach aligned with what is popular today regarding wine making styles. Not everyone is a fan of the butter-ball oak monster, though Sharpe Hill executed extremely well.
Overall, based on how well made both of these wines are, it was very difficult to choose a winner because it’s almost like comparing two completely different wines that are both excellent in their own regard. However, everyone in our little tasting group over at Connecticut Food & Wine were all blown away by the Sharpe Hill Chardonnay. I just visited Jonathan Edwards on Sunday the 19th, and will have an exclusive article with more tastings, photos and fun, coming up this week on our site!
Thank you Richard for the post – his tasting descriptions blow any of mine out of the water! Based off of each one, which of these two wines do you think you’d prefer?