Bourbon Barrel Aging Trend Spreads to Wine
Before the advent of stainless steel storage tanks and kegs, the makers of alcoholic beverages used barrels out of necessity. If you produced rum, you simply reused rum barrels. If you made whiskey, you used whiskey barrels, and so forth.
Cross flavoring with barrels, using one type of product barrel to flavor another, did not really even come into fruition until the early 1990s. Even then, it still took about twenty years for it to become such a popular brewing trend that it makes beer connoisseurs drool faster than those three little letters “I-P-A”.
Eventually, with craft brewers selecting particular spent barrels of everything from Chardonnay to Tabasco to impart unique flavor profiles on their brews, barrel aging become so popular, and bourbon casks in particular, that it was only a matter of time before other beverage producers decided to experiment with it.
Using bourbon barrels for aging draws out flavors like vanilla, caramel, and oak to flavor the wine. The barrels can also add a hint of pepper, or “barrel spice”, for a more complex experience.
Robert Mondavi Private Selection Bourbon Barrel Aged Cabernet Sauvignon uses 100% American oak, former Kentucky bourbon barrels. The inside of the barrel is charred to impart flavors of toasted vanilla and brown sugar that integrate with the intensely rich, dark fruit forward characters of cherry and blackberry in the cabernet.
According to Jason Dodge, one of the lead winemakers of Robert Mondavi Private Selection division, “what excites me most about this project is really the combination of the art of wine making and the craft of bourbon production–those two things coming together and forming something unique that might possibly bring in a whole new generation of wine drinkers.”
Another inviting aspect of this experiment is that Mondavi is pricing this limited release, new style of wine in the very affordable, introductory range of $9.99 to $15.00. At that price, it’s a steal to sample.
Robert Mondavi Private Selection Bourbon Barrel Aged Cabernet Sauvignon can be found at better stocked local wine merchants.