The Art Of Elevage
Casks And The Taste Of Wine
Wines Aged In Oak
The Shape And Size Of The Cask
The Age Of The Cask
How Casks Are Made
Caring For Casks

The cooper's ancient art is a fascinating one, but only some of its skills are relevant here. In order to achieve the correct shape, the oak staves are secured at one end by a hoop and bent into place. Heat allows the staves to be bent. Some coopers use steam, others fire, from burning wood or a gas burner. This "toasts" the inside of the cask.

A greater or lesser degree of "toast" affects the character of the wine made in the cask. High toast adds smoky notes and a toasted cask contributes more, and different, phenols. Steam-heated casks lack this dimension which is why some wineries prefer them.

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