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Carl's Corner

Carl Hudson
 
February 15, 2017 | Carl Hudson

Oak Barrels for Wine – Part Three

Different barrels from different oak sources and cooperages are often called the “winemakers’ spice rack.” From experience, a winemaker learns what barrel types best impart desired aromas and flavors into different varieties and styles of wine. New barrels impart far more flavor into a wine than a used barrel. Typically a new barrel gives up 55-65% of its flavoring components during the first use. Second use can impart 20-35% flavoring while third and fourth use impart 15-25% and 10-15%, respectively. Over time oak flavoring properties are "leached" out of the barrel and less wood flavoring is available for the vintage of wine stored in the barrel.  Continue »

Time Posted: Feb 15, 2017 at 7:00 AM
Carl Hudson
 
February 1, 2017 | Carl Hudson

Oak Barrels for Wine – Part Two

A cooper, or barrel maker, has the time-honored task of creating a liquid tight container (an oak wine barrel) from a pile of wooden staves. The staves are heated, traditionally over an open fire but more frequently now with infrared radiant heaters or steam, until they become pliable. The staves are then bent into the desired shape and bound together with iron rings. The heating process “toasts” the barrel which creates a number of flavor components from wood chemicals and brings them to the surface for eventual contact with the wine. The toasting can be light, medium, medium-plus or heavy, even charred (think Jack Daniels Whiskey barrel). Following the traditional, hand-worked style, a cooper is typically able to construct one-to-two oak barrels per day.  Continue »

Time Posted: Feb 1, 2017 at 7:00 AM
Carl Hudson
 
January 18, 2017 | Carl Hudson

Oak Barrels for Wine – Part One

Oak is an important winemaking tool that can have significant impact: influencing color, flavor, tannin profile and even the texture of wine. Oak treatment normally occurs when wine is fermented and/or aged in barrels, but increasingly oak alternatives, chips, pellets, staves, etc., are used to add oak influence to wine in other vessels, e.g., stainless steel or plastic tanks.  Continue »

Time Posted: Jan 18, 2017 at 7:00 AM
Carl Hudson
 
January 4, 2017 | Carl Hudson

Decanting Wine – Why and How

Over the holidays, I was asked twice about the slightly mysterious practice of decanting wine and allowing it to “breathe” before consumption. Most wine consumers have heard of this practice, and many have observed it being done to their wine in a restaurant or by someone at an event. The primary reasons for decanting a wine are, 1) to allow a wine’s aromas and flavors to develop more quickly by exposing it to air (oxygen), and 2) to remove most or all of the sediment that some wines, especially older reds, may have developed.  Continue »

Time Posted: Jan 4, 2017 at 7:39 AM
Carl Hudson
 
December 21, 2016 | Carl Hudson

Sparkling Wines – Great for the Holidays

Sparkling wines always seem to conjure up visions of celebrations and special occasions. They can be made by several different methods, from almost any grape, range from sweet to totally dry, and be white, rosé or red. With Christmas and the New Year just around the corner, this seemed like a good time to highlight sparkling wines.  Continue »

Time Posted: Dec 21, 2016 at 7:00 AM
Carl Hudson
 
December 7, 2016 | Carl Hudson

Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc & Ruby Cabernet – What’s the Difference?

Let’s start this segment by discussing Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, two of the five varietals allowed in French Bordeaux red wines (the others ? Merlot, Petite Verdot & Malbec). Cabernet Sauvignon is not an ancient varietal, having been developed as a cross between Cabernet Franc (red) and Sauvignon Blanc (white) in the late 1600’s. This ancestry was confirmed as recently as 1996 by DNA testing at UC-Davis. Cabernet Sauvignon (Cab S) is the world’s most widely planted grape, and arguably the most famous varietal. It is grown in almost every major wine region in the world, and has found special success in California (Napa Vly), Washington (Columbia River Vly), Australia, Chile, Spain and Italy (Super Tuscan blends). Cab S is also the most widely planted varietal in the state of Texas, estimated at well-over 600 acres.  Continue »

Time Posted: Dec 7, 2016 at 8:14 AM
Carl Hudson
 
November 23, 2016 | Carl Hudson

Holiday Wines and the Thanksgiving Feast

Most of us gather with family and friends for a traditional Thanksgiving feast. It is a very special time, and certainly one of the most treasured traditions here in the United States of America. For me, that Thanksgiving feast is accompanied by several special bottles of wine selected to pair with all those amazing food items we tend to serve during the holiday. Here are several recommended selections available at 4.0 Cellars.  Continue »

Time Posted: Nov 23, 2016 at 7:00 AM
Carl Hudson
 
November 9, 2016 | Carl Hudson

Wine Club Release – Nov-2016

Another fun set of wines has been collected for the 4.0 Cellars Wine Club Members in the November, 2016, allocation. At a recent staff meeting, all nine of the release wines were tasted, and everyone was asked to provide their opinion on one or two favorites. Below are some comments based on these staff opinions.  Continue »

Time Posted: Nov 9, 2016 at 7:00 AM
Carl Hudson
 
October 26, 2016 | Carl Hudson

Cinsault – A Blending Specialist

Cinsault (sin-SOH or san-SOH) or Cinsaut (without the “l”) is a common red grape in the Rhone Valley of southern France. Because Cinsault is heat and drought tolerant, it is also important in the southern French region of Languedoc-Roussillon and former French colonies of Algeria and Morocco. The origin of the grape is uncertain, but it likely came from some place along the eastern Mediterranean. Cinsault produces richly colored red wines with a softer, less tannic character, and is often blended with grapes like Grenache, Carignan (care-in-yawn) and Syrah to impart softness, spicy flavors and fresh fruit aromas.  Continue »

Time Posted: Oct 26, 2016 at 7:00 AM
Carl Hudson
 
October 12, 2016 | Carl Hudson

Mistelle of Semillon

The Mistelle Dessert Wine from Brennan Vineyards in Comanche, Texas, is currently available at 4.0 Cellars. This delicious wine is beautifully packaged in tall, colorless 500 mL bottles. Newburg Vineyard, one of three Comanche County estate vineyards for Brennan, is the source of the Semillon fruit that produced this lovely concoction. The wine is relatively high in alcohol, 16%, and carries a balancing 7% level of residual sugar. Armed with this information, you may have already developed a notion of what this wine tastes like and whether you would enjoy it. Before making a final decision, please read on to get the rest of the story behind why Todd Webster, Brennan’s talented wine maker, produced this wine.  Continue »

Time Posted: Oct 12, 2016 at 7:00 AM
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