How Do You Know When The Wine Is "done" In The Barrel
Posted 31 July 2012 - 08:30 AM
One winemaker I spoke with said that if it hasn't started smelling like a plank yet, it probably won't going forward because the wine gets most of the oak influence during the first few weeks/months in the barrel. It's not a new barrel but it's recoopered and being used for the first time. Obviously I want to leave it in there for as long as possible to get all the micro-ox goodness I can. I like the way it tastes now but figure it might be too soon to bottle.
I have a feeling there is no right answer to this but figured I'd ask anyway. Thanks!
Posted 31 July 2012 - 09:14 AM
I have always felt that my wines improved further by spring of the second year in a barrel. Of course more so in big tannic wines but even in middleweights and lighter wines. The improvement is more subtle than early on, mouth feel, smoothing of the finish, overall refinement. Maybe those things occur in bottle aging but I suspect more slowly. Another observation from trying many home wine makers wines that were bottled before the next vintage is that they quite often throw more heavy particulates in the bottle than those aged out to 15 months or so. Even in wines that were filtered prior to bottling. Not sure why this is the case since plenty of commercial Zins are bottled these days at 10-11 months and don't have the problem. Maybe they are fined and filtered. Speaking of those early Zins, these are usually the cheaper offering where the vineyard designates or "higher end" bottlings are aged out to the following year. So it seems those commercial growers think there is a benefit to more aging.
Anyway, at least next time you will have a used barrel that you won't have to worry about over-oaking.
Posted 31 July 2012 - 10:33 AM
Posted 31 July 2012 - 10:59 AM
Posted 31 July 2012 - 11:21 AM
Posted 31 July 2012 - 11:38 AM
Posted 31 July 2012 - 12:09 PM
Posted 31 July 2012 - 01:21 PM
2013 Sonoma Cabernet - 7 lugs
2013 Lodi Maggio Old Vine Zinfandel - 15 lugs
2013 Old Vine Barbera - 7 lugs
2013 Old Vine Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsult - 11 lugs
2013 Pinot Noir - 7 lugs
2013 Ten Brink Cabernet - 7 lugs
Posted 31 July 2012 - 02:31 PM
I tend to think that the shapes of curves are correct but with smaller new barrels you get a lot more oak extracted in that initial time because of the higher surface to volume ratio. That is the main reason for the shortened time.
It is always helpful to have some neutral barrels available that you can move your wine into if you think it is over oaking. At least you continue to get the micro-ox during that integration period.
Posted 31 July 2012 - 02:42 PM
That's not to say you're about to over-oak your Syrah, but I wouldn't assume that that is no longer a possibility. If you really don't want much perceptible "oakiness" in the finished wine, I'd think you should plan to check it at least monthly, and get it out of the barrel when you start to detect a bit more "oak" than you really want. The oak flavors should diminish a bit with age, so you should be able to overshoot a little, and still come out where you want to be.
Posted 31 July 2012 - 03:07 PM
I'd continue to taste on a monthly basis and when you can first clearly identify a hint of oakiness to your wine, you should start thinking about bottling or racking to carboys/demijohns. I don't believe in a 3-4 week period you'll go from "not enough oak" to "over-oaked".
Beloved Wine Studio
"I figure I'm many years ahead of where I would have been had I not found this forum."
Posted 31 July 2012 - 03:22 PM
Steve, is your figure based on 60 gallon or 30 gallon barrels? Also, do you think your figured would change based on the wood to wine ratio?
I was referring to 60 gallon. In my experience with 30g barrels, I really can't imagine leaving one on new oak 30g for a year unless it was Cab. I've never had Syrah in a 30 but had a Petite in a new FO 30g for 6 months. That seemed like way to much then but has since mellowed and become OK (after a year in the bottle). But that's where personal preference for oak comes in, I like much less than 5 years ago. I currently have my '11 Syrah in an '06 barrel (way neutral) and an '09 barrel. In sampling last week, the neutral was our favorite. They will be blended later but I'm not planning to add any more oak to the two barrel lot than what one 2 yr old barrel provides. Your situation is a tough one without a neutral barrel to transfer to for more aging. You sure you don't want to grab a 30g Flextank? That might be a great companion to your barrel.
Posted 31 July 2012 - 06:04 PM
Extraction rate is the same per square inch of exposed wood regardless of barrel size. A 60 gallon barrel will give up a proportionately greater amount of oak tannin as a 30 gallon in the same amount of time. However, both will be neutral at the same time.
I don't claim to be an expert on barrels, but I have a hard time believing that most of the oak extraction will occur in the first weeks/months in a barrel. I'll believe it for a lot of oak add-ins (which is mostly what Doyle's graph is dealing with) - oak chips, strips, chains, staves, etc. It depends on how much surface area is exposed. For most oak add-ins, there is a lot of surface area exposed. Barrels, on the other hand, have a lot less surface area (relatively). Yes, the amount of oak extraction drops over time (as the barrel becomes more neutral), but that normally happens over several years. Maybe a bit less for a reconditioned barrel, but still 2-3 years (I would think), rather than weeks or months.
0 user(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users