Great wines don’t make themselves. To realize the potential of well-farmed fruit requires skill. The skill to recognize how a young wine can become a more complex, more complete wine. This is the concept of élevage – of impelling non-fruit flavors and inducing wine to age gracefully. Oxygen plays a key role in this. As do barrels, which ever so slowly expose wine to small amounts of oxygen. It’s part science, part intuition.
Needless to say, we are very particular about the barrels we use – the coopers who make them, the forests they’re grown in, how large they are, how new they are, how much “toast” they receive, and of course, how long the wine stays in them. All of these things contribute to how much oxygen is transferred and how much flavor is imparted.
Oak adds aromas to wine – vanilla, spice, clove, caramel. Some of this is desirable, some of it is inevitable, but all of it is manageable. Our approach is to court the effect of oak, not its flavor.