Wooden barrels have been a part of making and aging wine for millennia. We commonly think of oak as the wood; but chestnut, redwood, cherry and acacia are and have been used as well. However, oak is by any measure the wood of choice, and we will focus our discussion on it.
Mike Tierney: Why is oak the overall wood of choice among winemakers?
EVELYN: It appears oak has the unique ability to bring components of some wines together in a way that allows them to mature harmoniously.
MPT: American versus French oak?
EW: French oak – Quercus Robur and Quercus Sessiflora – are typically hand split and air dried. Americsn osk – Quercus Alba (white oak) – has typically been sawn and then kiln dried; though some American coopers have taken up the traditonal French method.
MPT: You said we used wood on “some” wine. Why only some?
EW: In some wines the oak will overpower the flavors of a delicate wine, like many of our white wines. We use oak in making our Chardonnay, but not with any other white wine. Oak plays a part in the making of all our reds.
MPT: How about our “Garagistes” wines?
EW: On these wines we use French oak exclusively.
MPT: Any particular brand?
EW: I’m a big fan of DAMY.
MPT: From the taste of the wines, I am too!