Greetings from the cellar once again! After talking about large format bottles last week, we thought we would keep the theme going this week. But rather than talking about bottles, now we’re talking about barrels.
As the name implies, large format barrels are barrels that are larger than the normal 225L/60gal standard wine barrel. But how much larger is where things get interesting. Unlike with bottles, it isn’t as straightforward as being multiples of a ‘standard’ size, larger barrels come in all sorts of very-specific sizes. In this instance, we are looking at a 450L puncheon that is holding our Glacier Ridge Syrah (the 2019 is shown here, compared to the 2017 that we’ve been posting about this week.)
So what is the point of this double-sized barrel? Generally speaking, it is a way of getting a more moderate oak impact on the wine than in regular barrels; while the volume is twice that of a normal barrel in a puncheon, the oak surface area is nowhere near double. The result is a lovely texture and structure for the wine, but with less of the oaky flavors and aromas that can get in the way of the fruit.