BARRELS - OBJECT OF DESIRE
Barrels are much more important than what they look and they play a key role in the ageing of wines.
Their origins go far back into history, to Celtic times. Then, barrels have the only task of the transportation of liquids, but later people realised that they provided these liquids with rich nuances, even more they improved their taste and their conservation, so they started to be seen as much more than a mere vessel.
The ageing of wine in barrel has an influence in very important factors:
• The colour, that increases due to the contact with the wood tannins.
• The aroma, that acquires different notes ( toasted, spiced, balsamic ) according to the type of barrel. The American oak gives more intense aromas, while French oak provides more delicate ones.
• The taste. The pass through barrel gives sweetness to wine.
Additionally, the use of barrels is ideal to separate the sediments in the wine and allow its microoxygenation, at the same time that improve its organoleptic properties.
Regarding the barrel´s useful life it will vary based on the use it has been given. The ones used for racking (separation of sediments) can extend their lifetime up to 40 years; on the contrary the ones used to provide wines of aromas and taste, can see reduced their lifetime to only 8 years.
The DOCa Rioja Control Board says that the ageing of Rioja wines has to be in oak barrels of 225 litres (Bordeaux-type)
For Crianza wines which are at least in their third year, having spent a minimum of one year in oak barrels. For white wines, the minimum barrel ageing period is 6 months.
Reserva wines.These are meticulously selected wines with a minimum ageing between oak barrels and the bottle of three years, of which at least one has to be in barrels, followed and complemented by a minimum 6 months’ ageing in the bottle. For white wines, the minimum ageing period is 2 years, with at least 6 months in barrels.
Gran Reserva wines. These are wines of great vintages that have been painstakingly aged for a total of sixty months with at least two years in oak barrels and two years in the bottle. For white wines, the minimum ageing period is 4 years, with at least 6 months in barrels.
In Fincas de Azabache we offer you a wide selection fo DOCa Rioja wines. Discover the characteristics of each one on them visiting our online shop