This may mark me as a wine geek forever, but I found this article in Wines and Vines very interesting reading. People tend to associate use of staves and/or oak chips with cheaper wines, but as the article makes clear (and as I've been told by a number of Napa winemakers), there's a growing number of high-end, high-scoring wines out there being made with staves or a combo of staves and barrels. And, if you want to ratchet up your wine geekitude to even higher levels, check out this Wine Business Monthly article from a few years back, in which Rosenblum Cellars winemaker Jeff Cohn provides a sort of encyclopedia of the specific characteristics that different barrels and yeasts impart to wine (or at least to the wines he's making). Fascinating reading, and afterward you'll be able to tell people at cocktail parties what the ICVD Rhône isolate yeast does to white wines. Which will make you very popular indeed.
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