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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 »

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
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