I love my barrels. These beauties are expensive, but worth every dime. Not only do they gracefully support and micro-oxygenate the wine, imparting the most subtle roasty flavors, they are so elegantly and femininely shaped and exquisitely constructed. I’m consistently in awe that they don’t leak a drop.
Our oak barrels are 100% French sourced from top coopers, several of whom supply Bordeaux wineries as well. The wood is generally referred to as 36-month “air dried” so for the nonwinemaker, this means they toss the staves out in the yard for 3 years to acclimate, get rained on, etc. Think of the smell of freshly-cut or sanded wood; that’s not what we want the wine to taste like, so the wood must be seasoned and rid of its “new oak” flavor. After this natural mellowing, the coopers do amazing things to toast and bend and form and assemble the barrel.
I have never visited a cooper but I sure hope to do so one day. Meanwhile, I love to visit my wine incubating in these beautiful bellies.