Wine tasting notes from our barrels!
Why is Wine Aged in Oak Barrels?
There are two main reasons. For red wines, aging in oak barrels allows a very gradual amount of oxidation in the wine which helps reduce tannin's and eliminates the "earthy green taste" that newly fermented wine can exhibit. The barrel aging process also allows increased color and fruit flavors to develop the wines structure. It also allows the wine to stabilize after going through the crushing and fermentation process.
The second reason to use oak barrels is that the oak can contribute rich complimentary tastes. There are a whole lot of variables that oaks can introduce to a wine, but we will cover these techniques in the future.
During its time in the barrel wine will be "racked" about every three months. "Racking" is the process where we gently use gravity to skim the wine off of the solids that settle on the bottom and move it to a clean barrel. The wine becomes clearer each time it is racked. The wine will slowly evaporate, so it is important to keep it topped off with the wine to minimize air in the barrel, making for rapid oxidation.
For this blog, we wanted to tell you about some of the initial tasting notes of our wines recently tasted from our barrels. But first a little background...
Wine Thieves and Cellar Rats!
They sound scary don't they! These are actually two of most fun things in winery's barrel room.
This picture below shows a stack of barrels with plugs you can see on the tops and sides of the barrels called "bungs" or "bung hole plugs." The holes on the side of the barrels are called "bungholes."
(Yes... I know...)
Insider note: Giggling or guffawing when you hear these terms when wine tasting makes you a "rookie." Let other "rookies" do that!
This is the tool that is used to extract tasting samples of the wine from the barrels. The curved glass tube is open on both ends. It is
inserted into the barrel through the bunghole and fills with wine. Your thumb is placed on one end and you can now remove wine from the barrel and then release it into a glass.
Who does all of this work in the barrel room? Those who work on
the production work of the wine proudly wear the affectionate moniker of "cellar rat," and the work never ends. The skill and care can never be average. Your skin and clothes are stained purple but the results are all worth it!
We recently tasted our 2014, 2015, and one 2016 wines from the barrels. (The 2016 reds were still undergoing secondary fermentation.) Here are some notes:
Vintage Varietal Tasting Notes
2014 Barbera Red fruit, plum, cherry, med. body, great nose
2014 Grenache Strawberry, big structure, long finish
2014 Bourdeaux Blend * Cassis, black cherry, currant, great bouquet
* (Malbec, Petit Sirah, Cab Franc)
2015 Barbera Red currant, black berry, big structure
2015 Grenache Spices, fruits, cyrene , nice backbone
2015 Malbec Plum, chocolate, blueberry, vanilla
2015 Bourdeaux Blend * Elegant wine, cherry, plum
* (Petit Sirah, Cab Franc)
2016 Pinot Grigio Fresh, great citrus fruits, big bouquet/structure
DISTRIBUTION AND WINE CLUB COMING SOON!
Tasting events are being planned.
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Sue and Jim