Barrel Tastes – Spelunking of a Sort


Barrel Experiment Alcove - Barrel

Barrel Experiment and Special Cabernet Alcove


Each year Kevin and the winemaking team compile a barrel experiment to assist in the ongoing effort toward improving our wines while being fair and balanced with regard to the various cooperages courting us yearly to purchase their barrels.  You may recall a previous post about the initial tasting for the 2011 Barrel Experiment.  This week Kevin took a few of us into the caves to revisit a select group of wines that may be included if we begin offering barrel tastings as part of the cave tour program in the future. 


Seguin Moreau Amerique

Seguin Moreau American Oak Barrel


We began by tasting out of  two barrels from the same producer, both containing the same lot of 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon.  In a given year we will purchase from various cooperages, predominantly French Oak, but including a few American barrels for contrast.  Tasted against one another the French and American offerings from Seguin Moreau are strikingly different.  Wine out of this particular American oak vessel seems distinctly smokey and course, with almost burnt character, while the French offering seemed slightly more delicate and less overtly tannic.  It is possible that the coarser character of the wine from the American barrel might integrate over time and offer more depth with some cellaring after it reaches the bottle.


Seguin Moreau Francais

Seguin Moreau French Oak Barrel


As a special treat before exiting the caves we were afforded the privilege of tasting 2 special lots of 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon.  The brightness of the fruit from both wines was striking.  We are accustomed to relatively tight, noticeably tannic character in youthful Cabernet from our vineyard, it is testament to the vibrance of the 2012 vintage that these young wines are showing so well.  This is not to say that either offering lacked structure, tannin and tightness were certainly present, the bright red fruit simply shown through to the point where the tannin was not the first impression.

Expect more updates on the barrel experiment as we revisit the 2011 group and begin tasting the 2012 batch over the next few months.  Cheers!

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