Food Why You’ll Be Seeing Wine Aged in Bourbon Barrels Everywhere

02:30  14 april  2018
02:30  14 april  2018 Source:   Food & Wine

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That's why I was so excited when I recently read about wines aged in whiskey and bourbon casks. Could you taste the whiskey, I wondered? And would the flavors be subtle or overpowering? There aren't a lot of these whiskey- barrel aged wines out there.

You ' ll find mostly Cabernet, Shiraz and Zinfandel on the market. Well, the bourbon barrel aged wine fad is officially in full swing, and I expect it is going to continue well into the future. Basically, this is where a winery ages its wine in a barrel that was formerly used for bourbon .

a pile of green barrel© Tommy Lee Walker/Getty Images

Winemaking and beer-making used to feel like distinctly different disciplines. But recently, more and more, fermenters of both grapes and grains have been taking tips from each other—whether its dry-hopped wine, beer brewed with grape skins, or any of the many other beer and wine hybrids. Now, it appears like a trend that took the beer world by storm is about to be the next big thing in wine: bourbon barrel-aging.

The well-known California winery Fetzer Vineyards first released its bourbon barrel-aged Zinfandel called 1000 Stories back in 2014. The brand’s winemaking director Bob Blue told The Drinks Business that the first year, they only produced 5,000 cases, but over the past 12-month period, they’ve sold 120,000. “It has changed my life,” he said. “We are now buying a lot of Zin, and going to Lodi, Paso Robles, and Mendocino for grapes; the growth has been dramatic, we’ve gone from nothing to 2,000 tonnes of fruit, it’s crazy.” He said if demand keeps up, production of 1000 Stories, which spends two months in used bourbon casks, could double again to around 250,000 cases in the near future.

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Barrel aged stout, barrel aged barleywine, barrel aged IPA you name it. Why Sizzle Platters and Eighth-Sheet Pans Belong in Every Kitchen. And bourbon barrels aren't the only containers brewers are using, either: you ' ll also see sherry, wine , tequila, and rum barrels imparting their distinct flavors

Sorry, everywhere else. Bourbon barrels kept the Scotch industry alive. Not sure if you’ve checked, but many Scotches are aged in post-use bourbon barrels . You ’ ll see this on a lot of labels, since there is (again) NO age requirement for bourbon .

"It’s a bit of a gimmick, but there’s no question it’s a popular trend right now," Food & Wine executive wine editor Ray Isle says. "Largely it capitalizes on the huge boom in popularity that’s happened with Bourbon, and brings it over into the wine space. Whether aging in a used Bourbon barrel actually makes a wine better in any way is another question."

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Interestingly enough, though Blue claims that Fetzer was the first to make bourbon barrel-aged wine in California’s modern wine era, three or four decades ago, using bourbon barrels was relatively common—in part because they were cheaper. “I distinctly remember in the early ‘80s, when I was getting started as a winemaker, that getting French oak for wine was a big deal,” Blue told VinePair this past December. “Since there wasn’t a ton of capital, we used bourbon barrels.”

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Bourbon barrels tend to be a little less pretty than wine barrels , too. You ’ ll see quite often the staves are good but an end will blow out.” Or the bung stave will have cracks. “You can see that here,” he says, pointing at a barrel .

For the best infographic you ' ll see all day, check out Mutineer Magazine's, "The Secret Life of Bourbon Barrels ." Whiskey may be made everywhere from Brooklyn to Scotland but in 1964, Congress declared bourbon "America's Native Spirit."

This time around though, big wineries—which also includes Robert Mondavi and Apothic—are doing it because it’s the hip thing to do, and some wines like Stave & Steel are building their whole brand around it. In the beer world, bourbon barrel-aging has become a staple of many breweries repertoire after Goose Island saw huge success with the technique in the ‘90s. “Riding on the coattails of bourbon’s success, we saw a great opportunity to combine our traditional California winemaking with the unique aging process that comes from used bourbon barrels to offer consumers a bolder, richer [wine],” Jason Dodge, senior director of winemaking for Robert Mondavi Private Selection, told VinePair. As recent beer-wine hybrids have proven, what’s good for the Goose can also be good for the gander.

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