Learning about wine leads to a greater enjoyment of each taste.
Why do I like wine?
I farm wine grapes spring to fall. I process grapes and make wine year round. My life is ruled by the cycles of the vineyards. The more accurate question is why am I obsessed with wine?
In a word, exploration! There is a world of wines and each year brings an entire new one to explore. As a grape farmer and winemaker it is also a chance to capture the poetry of place in a bottle. But in both cases, for me and many connoisseurs, wine is a chance to discover.
Some wine is just a manufactured product – usually those that are under $10 – and not worth spending any time contemplating. But wine, at its best, is the perfect distillation of a community’s interactions with the local soil, climate, food and grapes. Starting with a devoted farmer, and moving up to families and entire communities all eating and working together and doing so over hundreds of years, wine has the ability to capture not only the physical place, but also the culinary, and community traditions that truly breathe life into a bottle of wine.
These are authentic, intrinsically valuable wines. These wines are windows into the history and ecology of place. These are the wines I am obsessed with discovering and devoted to making. When one opens an authentic, hand-crafted wine, the consumer has the opportunity to explore, if they can learn to read the signs. Like an archeologist reading the color and textures of rocks to uncover the geologic history of a place, a wine connoisseur can read the acids, tannins and fruits flavors of a wine to discover a wines place of origin. High acids can mean cool climates or high altitude vineyards. Big tannins can mean certain grape varietals or volcanic rocky soils. Finesse and brightness can mean higher latitudes like the Loire Valley in France, while rich, soft textures and flavors can mean more southern latitudes like Spain or Southern Italy.
Stargazer Barn is our humble attempt to breathe life into the wine of Humboldt County. For our part, we strive for complexity and balance – the true hallmarks of timeless wines. To that end, we focus on producing small lots of hand-crafted, un-manipulated wines. With total production under 2000 cases we can assure the utmost care for every grape in the vineyards and every gallon of wine in our cellars. Treating each vintage more like a new child born to our family, we focus on keeping it clean and safe. The wine is allowed to be “itself”, both similar to the rest of our family, but unique in its own way. Furthermore, we do not use heavy-handed “discipline” to mold our wines into some pre-existing notion of what we think it should be or what the mass market dictates. Humboldt County is not hidden under oak or additives and it is not stripped out by heavy fining or filtering. As a result, Stargazer Barn produces elegant, sophisticated wines that reveal its place of origin.
Wilfred Franklin, Winemaker at Stargazer Barn