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For more than 2000 years, oak barrels have been used in winemaking. They can be used to impart many different aromas and flavors from vanilla to charred oak. Different forests make different barrels and so do the coopers, also known as the barrel makers. Barrels are important to understand because they are the only major seasoning ingredient in winemaking.
For this Barrel Battle, we took premium Napa Valley Semillon grapes and harvested them together, but made two wines by taking a novel approach. One wine was fermented and aged in new American oak and the other in new French oak barrels. Challenge yourself and compete against your friends in a Barrel Battle. May the forest be with you.
More than 900 years ago, Cistercian monks began marking areas of their vineyards that made distinct wines. Their keen observations later became known as terroir (TER-waar). This is the resulting character found in a wine, which is made by a particular combination of grape varietals grown in a certain environment.
In the 1940s, a heat summation scale was developed for wine grapes, called the Winkler Index. This package includes wines that are made from the same clone of grape but are grown in different regions. The wines were made to be as similar as possible so that any differences in the wines could be focused on the wine’s place of origin. See for yourself just how grounded you are to wine.
The finest connoisseurs can talk about tannins in wine all day long… “they are in the front of the palate” or “they are mid-palate tannins.” But what are they really talking about? Tannins are not aromatic, but they can be perceived by your taste buds. They can interact in two ways. One way, and the most dramatic, is that they interact with proteins in your saliva…yeah, I know yuck…but, it can create a roughness in the mouth that gives a wine structure or mouthfeel. For these wines, we added different levels of tannins. Can you taste the difference?
For most crops, a good tonnage or high-harvested weight is usually a good thing; but, this is not necessarily so with wine grapes. In fact, quantity versus quality can be counter responsive. With grapes, more quantity usually means less quality. But how true is this? Through TON TIED, we hope you’ll discover how.
For the wines used in this game, we took the same block of vines then over thinned some and under thinned others, but otherwise we cultivated them as similarly as possible. Then we made them into wines that were as similar as possible. Is one better than the other? If so, why?
We hope you have a TON of fun deciphering this age-old conundrum.
Balance is key to all good wines and acidity is central to finding it. There are three major acids naturally found in grapes: tartaric, malic and citric. With the help of malolactic bacteria, the tart malic acid can convert to softer lactic acid. But what does this really mean and why should you care? Taste for yourself and see if you like the tart taste.
Compete with your friends and enjoy some good titrations.