You are known to be working much with Caucasian oak. What are its peculiarities?
Caucasian oak has its own character. With regard to its ‘wine’ characteristics, it may be positioned somewhere between American and French oaks. Briefly speaking, it gives out tannic substances faster than French oak but slower than American wood, and it has its peculiar flavour and taste. Caucasian oak-trees grow in a number of different microzones, each with their own peculiarities – however as far as I know this information has not been duly systematized yet. In any case, it’s important to know how the barrels were made from that wood, how the staves were seasoned, how old the trees were, where they grew – in a lowland or on a mountain, and what species it was – the so-called English oak (Quercus robur) or durmast oak (Quercus petraea). If all these and other nuances have been taken into account while production, Caucasus oak may turn into remarkable casks.
Where do you buy barrels from Caucasian oak?
Mostly from Fanagoria’s cooperage. Fanagoria, a well-known player at the Russian wine making, has own cooperage, and I’m glad to state that the quality of their barrels has been constantly growing. Besides, I have a couple of barrels crafted from Caucasian oak by Gamba, an Italian-based cooperage. So I believe that Caucasian oak has a bright future!
Photo by: Igor & Olga Ulko