Putting Your Best Oak Forward: Diversity in the World of Barrels

If you've never put your nose inside a few well-wrought barrels, it may be hard to understand just how excited winemakers can become about oak - and also, just how varied the contribution of oak to the profile of a wine can be. The range of smells, the different characters that jump at you, as you compare individual barrels, is simply astonishing.
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Vino 2011: To Oak or Not To Oak

There’s a reason that the Italian Trade Commission has held an annual wine fair in New York since 2009. Imports of Italian wines to these shores have increased enough that in 2010 Italy surpassed France to reach a market share of 30.3 percent compared to 24.5 percent for France, a country whose position at the top of the import heap was unsullied for decades. No wonder that the phrase often repeated during VINO 2011, held at the Waldorf Astoria the last week of January, was that we are in “a golden age for Italian wine.”
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Members Become Winemaker for a Day at Boulder Creek

Most wine tasting room visits tend to be similar; people lined up at a bar sampling the current releases. Occasionally wineries offer a barrel tasting experience, where a tour guide (or if you’re lucky the winemaker) will use an oversized pipette, commonly referred to as a “wine thief,” to extract samples of wine from barrels. This allows the taster to observe how the unfinished wine is evolving before it is bottled. While opportunities like this are rare at most wineries, one producer in Boulder, Colorado goes a step further.