Exceptional Tasting Series: March
It may be an accident that modern day winemakers use oak to store and age their wine. When wines were first traded, many used clay pots or open wooden buckets. As trade developed, merchants realized that sealed wooden containers were superior to the fragile clay pots they were using. At first, winemakers and merchants marveled over the strength and ease of transportation of these new barrels, but they soon realized that the wine itself benefited from its time in wood barrels.
Today, we use oak barrels to enhance color, flavor, texture, and tannins of our wines, allowing them greater complexity in their aromas and palate. There are many different types of oak from different regions in the world that influence wine in different ways, and winemakers can also use neutral methods, such as stainless steel and cement, to help create their ideal wine.
But wine is not the only one that benefits from different barrels. The oak used, and how it is treated, greatly influences sake and spirits like single-malt and tequila, to name a few. Throughout the month of March, we will be exploring how oak, steel, and other vessels influence the characteristics and heighten our enjoyment of some of our favorite wines and spirits.
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