For those that like to delve just a little deeper, we’ve provided answers to some fun wine related questions. Use these little tidbits to further your wine knowledge or just impress your friends at the next wine tasting!
Q. How many gallons of wine does a barrel hold?
Q. How many bottles is that?
Q. What does a French oak barrel cost?
A. Depending on the Euro exchange rate it can cost between $900 & $1200 per barrel.
Q. How does that compare to an American oak barrel?
A. An American oak barrel runs about $300.
Q. Why are French oak barrels so much more?
A. The grain is much tighter thus releasing the flavors a much more slowly. Also, French oak has a much more favorable taste than American.
-Corks are used in most high end red wines. Corks are porous and that allows some outside air to slowly enter the bottle which enhances the aging of the wine. Oxygen is absorbed by the Tannin molecules thus causing them to soften and blend with the other wine components in the wine.
-Twist tops or synthetic corks are fine for white wines and lighter reds, such as Gamay, that are meant to be consumed upon purchase. Chardonnay is the only white wine that has Tannic acid and can benefit from 3 to 5 years of ageing.
-The ideal temperature for wine storage is between 59 to 68 degrees F. The secret is to store your wine in a dark, cool space and try not to move them around too much. Drink most whites within 2 years of production. Drink Pinot Noirs and Zinfandels within 3 to 7 years. The big Bordeaux reds, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, along with other reds that are heavy on tannins can be aged up to 20 years.
-Decanting big red wines is always advisable. This accomplishes a variety of things. First it allows oxygen to be introduced into the wine. As the wine absorbs the oxygen it expands the molecules that have been trapped in the bottle for years. The bigger or fatter the molecules become, the softer they feel on the palate. Secondly, this opens up the wine and you are now able to taste the the finished product as the winemaker intended. Finally, it allows you to leave any sediment that might be in the bottle behind.
-Whites do not need decanting unless there is sediment in the bottle. Sediment, which is nothing more dead yeast cells and residual matter left over from production, is harmless. If you find any in your bottle of white you can return it for a replacement.
-Most white wines are filtered so there won’t be any sediment. Higher end reds are not filtered. The sediments are left in the barrel during the ageing process and add complexity to the wine.