How We Do It
Oak barrels are a common container used to store and age wine. We use the best French and Eastern European oak barrels from the finest coopers. We will use a mix of new and prior use barrels in order to strike the right balance of aromatics and flavor. New oak imparts a greater amount of sensory character to a wine as the charring inside the barrels is exposed to wine for the first time. Upon re-use barrels loose the ability to strongly influence aromas and flavors but play an important role as they still help to mellow the character of the wine during ageing. Having wine from both new and re-use barrels provides us greater stocks for blending and also allows the benefits of barrel maturation without the strong wood characters for lighter style wines like Pinot Noir.
French and Eastern European oak contains a looser grain, which may allow for greater evaporation during ageing and is thought to contain larger amounts of extractable dry wood phenols both making subtle contributions when making wines in a European style. Because wood is slightly porous, small amounts of wine are absorbed into the barrel and eventually evaporate into the atmosphere. Topping the barrels with spare wine juice eliminates any space caused by evaporation or absorption and helps keep it fresh and free of unwanted oxidation.