This month we have a special edition of our monthly wine blog…Bourbon Barrel Wines. Yes, what we thought may just be an annual allocated project by some of our supplier-partners has now turned into a new year-round category…who knew!
With so many different expressions, we will focus on two distinctly different Bourbon Barrel offerings from our portfolio. Both are delicious on their own or can be paired with hearty BBQ from Chicken and Pork to Ribeye and Sirloin:
Psssss…a little secret…try putting a slight chill on these wines, particularly on warmer days and enjoy!
The Wine Team
Bourbon Barrel Wines
1000 Stories Bourbon Barrel Aged Zinfandel - California
This batch is rooted in Zinfandel vineyards from Mendocino (36% of the blend). Head-trained and dry-farmed, these vineyards provide bright red fruit aromas and flavors of raspberry and cranberry.
From the Sierra Foothills of Amador county and the Shenandoah Valley (22%) comes the big ripe and spicy Zinfandels of that area. In addition, Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel (5%) balances out the batch with its complex black fruits and a distinct black pepper spice. Zinfandels from Lodi (14%) and Contra Costa (6%) and Colusa (16%) counties add more red fruit and brilliance to the flavor profile. And finally, a big Petite Sirah from Mendocino brings dark color and intense black fruit.
Each individual lot started the aging process in traditional American and French wine barrels. The next step was the introduction of the wine to bourbon barrels. Part of the blend was aged in new bourbon barrels from the Independent Stave Company. This process is similar to aging in wine barrels, but with a flavor profile unique to the charred bourbon barrels – vanilla, dried herbs and a hint of caramel.
The final step of the process was the grandest: the blend completed its barrel ageing in old bourbon barrels from famed distilleries such as Heaven Hill and Four Roses. Some of these barrels were 13-year-old, single-use barrels used to make the highest quality bourbon.
“Years ago, when I was just starting out as a winemaker, it was almost unheard of to get French oak wine barrels, and American oak barrels were for whisky, not wine. But we still needed barrels to age our wine, so we purchased new and used bourbon barrels. Today, American and French oak wine barrels are commonplace, so the inspiration for 1,000 Stories is a nod to the way things were.” - WineMaker Bob Blue
Cooper & Thief - Bourbon Barrel Red Blend - California
Region: This unique red blend comes from California
The Wine: Cooper & Thief Red Blend is composed of 6 varietals: 38% Merlot, 37% Syrah, 11% Zinfandel, 7% Petite Sirah, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% other Red Blenders.
Bourbon is the new Grape: Bourbon Barrels have been one of the most successful innovations in the most recent years. Cooper & Thief Red Blend is aged for three months in a bourbon barrel to create a subtle heat in the taste.
Tasting Note: The 2014 dark & jammy vintage is the result of a warm California summer. The 3 months aging in ex bourbon barrels allows a contrast of soft velvety tannins with the subtle heat. The lingering smooth finish appeals to consumers of all ages.
Cellarmaster: Jeff Kasavan