From our archives-
New vs. Used, French vs. American, and some other tidbits about barrels that you might not have known.
French vs. American Oak
In the wine world, the terms “French oak” and “American oak” are used quite often. These unique types of oak are referring to the barrels in which is aged. Wine barrels are made from white oak trees, most popularly the French oak – Quercus robur – and the American oak – Quecus alba. Both of these are white oaks with very different flavor profiles and grain structure.
When wine is aged in oak, it ‘soaks up’ flavor from the barrels. American oak is known to give off vanilla, caramel, and sometimes coconut. French oak is known to give off more subtle and spicy flavors – our favorite ones give off some bacon and salami aromas in our wines. These differences in flavor and aroma additions may be caused by the difference in grain between the French and American oak or perhaps by the seasoning process.
When a tree is harvested for wine barrels it is cut into staves and then put outside to season for at least a year. Just letting the air and weather hit the wood with all the elements possible. Choosing between French and American oak can be because of the flavor and aroma compounds that are added to the wine, but cost may also be a factor. An American oak barrel generally runs somewhere around $600 while the French oak barrels are around $1300.
The Difference between New and Used Barrels
Many people are surprised to find out barrels can be used through many vintages before they turn into someone’s pot holder or furniture. Why? Think of chewing gum. The first bite of gum produces strong, robust flavors, but each subsequent bite brings less and less flavor until the gum has almost no flavor at all.
The same concept applies to wine barrels, a new oak barrel will deliver a much stronger flavor than a used oak barrel. Because of this, winemakers are continually striving to find the perfect balance of new and used oak, and that ‘perfect balance’ is determined by the winemaker, their style, and the profile they’re going for. It’s not uncommon for a wine to spend half of the time in new oak and half in used oak, or all of its time in one or the other. Ultimately, both new barrels and used barrels are very important to the winemaking process.
New oak or used, French or American, the oak chosen is dependent upon the winemaker’s preference and the profile they want their wine to have. Outstanding wine can be produced in both French oak and American oak Barrels. At Telaya we use 100% French oak because stylistically we want to produce dynamic wines, and French oak enables more fruit flavors to come out in the wine with more of those brooding spice notes to come out in the aromas. We also use a balance of new and used oak to impart the different flavors that will come through by using a combination of new and used oak. Then in the blending process the fruit and spice come together to create great wines.
If you're on this website, you've probably already noticed that we completely updated it! We hope you enjoy the new look along with the updated information and photos.
It's always our goal to provide the best experience possible for our customers. We love learning about wine, and we try to use our blog to help spread the knowledge. We also use it to share information on wine awards and recognition our industry receives.
Our past blogs did not transfer over with our website update, which is why our current blog list is so short! If there is a past blog you want to read again, please let us know and we will repost it. We also have some great articles coming up, so check back soon!
The guys over at Great Northwest Wines get to taste a lot of amazing wines from all over the Northwest and beyond! So whenever they give us a write up, we are extremely thankful and flattered. They recently reviewed our 2013 Mourvedre as a very interesting but little known varietal in the Northwest.
In fact, our research shows that the Northwest is home to more than 100 red and white wine grapes — from Albariño to Zweigelt. Many are names you might not have heard of, including Sagrantino (a sturdy Italian grape), Golubok (a red Russian variety) and Black Hamburg (also known as Black Muscat).
We are always on the hunt for interesting varietals to work with and have added Counnoise, Marsanne, Grenache Blanc, and hopefully some Nebiolo soon! Here’s what they have to say about our Mourvedre:Telaya Wine Co. 2013 Mourvèdre, Snake River Valley, $35: Owners Earl and Carrie Sullivan crafted this dark, intense wine that offers hints of white pepper, blackberries and almost jammy black currants in its aromas, then blackberries, black currants and minerality in its full-bodied finish. Its tannins linger in the background, then take a brief bow at the end. (14 percent alcohol)
Read the whole article over on their website or on the Tri-City Herald.
Wine Spectator just released their new list of great restaurants to attend for exceptional wine experiences. We are so lucky to be featured on some of these wine lists, and are always excited to share our wines with all of the great restaurants in the area.
Idaho restaurants on the list are: Il Naso in Ketchum, Bella Aquila in Eagle, Candle in the Woods in Athol, Capitol Cellars in Boise, The Cellar in Coeur d’Alene, Chandlers Steakhouse in Boise, Fork Restaurant in Boise, Mai Thai Restaurant and Bar in Boise, and The Narrows in McCall.
Thanks Times-News Magic Valley for the write up and the shout outs to all the great restaurants in the state!
We are excited to participate in the Idaho Wine Run this year, but had no idea the following it has already drummed up! It was just ranked in Runner’s World Magazine as one of the top ten wine runs in the world! We might have even missed the news if it wasn’t thanks to 103.5 Kiss FM. They saw it and made sure to share it on their website and give a nice recap of why you should participate in it too!
Runner’s World Magazine just published an article titled “Bucket List: 10 Races For Wine Lovers.” According to the magazine, most wine races have been inspired by France’s Marathon du Medoc where runners can grab a taste of vino at almost every mile throughout the race. Most wine runs attract costumes, good times and of course an abundant number of free samples after the races.
Come out this year for the new course, and lots of great Idaho Wine!
Tags: 103.5 Kiss FM, idaho wine run, Runner's World Magazine
We had a lovely visit with Mattie Bamman when he was in town. A wine writer based in the northwest he always is trying to find fun and interesting wineries and great wines to write about. Last time he visited he focused on the Boise urban wineries and we were lucky enough to host him; we connected with him over the wines but also over the importance of “aha” moments with wine.
Telaya winemaker Earl Sullivan is well-versed in “Aha!” moments. “The greatest goal for me is for someone to have that ‘Aha!’ wine moment with one of our wines,” he says. Perhaps you’ll have yours on the patio overlooking the river while sipping his chardonnay, made in both the subdued French Chablis and ripe Californian styles (a compromise between he and his wife Carrie’s palates). At 3,500 cases a year, Telaya makes most of its wines using Idaho fruit, but its cabernet sauvignon always features Washington grapes, letting you compare Idaho and Washington terroirs.
Check out the other stops he suggests making in the Boise area for great “aha” wine moments by reading the full article here.
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