Thursday, February 17, 2005

Huge is SNUBBED!

I can’t believe that they didn’t invite me!

(Seguin-Moreau Napa revamps)

It’s just as well, the last time I’d talked with a rep from their cooperage the guy lit into me because of the company I worked for at the time.
We’d changed our orders a little (I’d had nothing to do with it), and had asked for special service. While the products that had been delivered were excellent & were exactly what was asked for, I guess somewhere along the line this guy got some twist in his knickers and decided that since I was in front of him he’d let it all out…
Another of their reps realized what was happening & ushered the guy out of my sight, but I left without ever hearing any word of apology for his tirade.
But that’s ancient history now.

Seguin-Moreau continues to produce top notch barrels and has continued to research new barrel technology, and while they aren’t the most progressive company in that category have produced some impressive ideas. Most notably in my book is the introduction of the U-stave barrel. I’m still a fan of their Merpins and Chagny barrels, and probably always will be.

I’ll take some exception to their comment that the wood used to make these new barrels from the 200 year-old trees with the “medium-fine” grain allows more oxidation of the wines. Maybe if what they’re comparing it to has very loose grain it’s true…

Overall, the greater oxidation comes from barrels with finer (more closely spaced) grain; wood from slow-growth trees (trees with very narrow growth rings in other words). And last I’d heard most all of the wood sources in France were administered in some way or another by the French Ministére de l’Ecologie et du Développement Durable (Serge Lepeltier is the current Minister of that organization), so I’m not that surprised by their admission the wood is from a National forest in France. No! Really?! Well, duh…
The question is which one? Troncais? Allier? Nevers?

The Roman cask replica could be interesting…
Wooden barrels were first used by the Celts and Gauls, and were later adopted by the Romans as they were much more durable than clay containers. The size of it would be equivalent to a volume of 3 of their “culleus” measures (each being around 120 USgallons) or roughly 60 Roman amphorae.

I might risk a trip there just to see that.

(*note – years ago the coopers at the S-M facility in Napa were primarily Scottish, and had worked in the Scottish Whisky barrel industry before coming to America. Just thought that was an interesting point…as whisky barrels are made and toasted so much differently than wine barrels.)


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