Photo: 600 Liter oak Barrels at Château d’Esclans. They invented a special cooling technology (the metal hoses) to create a cold fermentation in oak barrels for their phenomenal Garrus Rosé.
Oak Barrel Rosé - A Gourmet Game Changer
Rosé is often (not to say always) associated with summer, freshness, friends and fun. And rightfully so: This delicious nectar can transport you to a private yacht on the Mediterranean See in a single sip. However, Rosés are not only aperitif wines and can also surprise you with their complexity!
More and more winegrowers break boundaries to create more structured and full-bodied Rosé wines. Some Rosés are even crafted like the greatest wines from Burgundy! We’re talking fermentation and aging in oak barrel here.
Let’s talk a little bit about history before we go any further. Barrels appeared in Antiquity, replacing fragile amphoras previously used to transport all sorts of liquids. Barrels have therefore not always been used as a differentiating element for wine. But as time went on, we discovered the positive qualities that oak could bring to wine. Barrel ageing and fermentation was then gradually integrated as a part of the wine crafting process.
The vessel in which a Rosé will get fermented is a crucial choice as it will significantly impact the finish product. For the vast majority of Rosé wines, fermentation happens in flavor neutral stainless steel or concrete tanks. When a Rosé spends time in wood barrels, something completely different is created. The questions you may ask are: What are the effects on wine and how does it work?
First, new aromas are created when the wine comes into contact with the oak. Complex interactions take place during the process that will result in roasting flavors such as coffee, toast, vanilla, nuts, caramel, spices and/or smoked aromas depending on the barrel’s specificities. For this reason, a barrel Rosé is always a great opportunity to experience and appreciate a wine with multiple layers of aromas.
Then, barrels have physical characteristics that stainless-steel tanks do not have: they have a porosity that allows slow oxygenation through the wood. Oxygen is indeed the main factor in the evolution of wine. The contact with the air allows the wine to be rounder, more complex and full-bodied. The sensation of acidity fade to increase the richness and creaminess of the wine.
However, the impact of oak will be different depending on several factors:
- The size of the barrel: A 600L barrel will have less impact than a 225L but much more than a “Foudre” which can contain up to 300 hectoliters.
- Where the wood comes from: French oaks, especially those from the Allier are known for their finesse, while American oaks will give more aromas.
- The age of the barrel: A new barrel will give more and stronger aromas than a barrel that has already been used one or several times. The more a barrel is used, the more it loses its properties. In many wineries, a mixture of new barrels and previously used barrels is made to find the right balance. This is why many producers specify the proportion of "new oak" in their blends.
The added depth from fermentation or aging in oak create a new style of Rosé that is very food-friendly and capable of standing up to dishes like dark meat! These Gourmet Rosés are very versatile. They can be enjoyed during a Summer Barbecue with grilled meat or during Festive season and as a general rule with heavier food!
If this has sparked your curiosity, Club Lavender carries a Premium selection of these Barrel Rosé wines:
In 2006, Château d’Esclans produced for the first time a limited quantity of Rosé aged in oak barrels and by doing so, opened a whole new chapter in the world of Rosé! Garrus from Château d’Esclans has since become the perfect example of barrel Rosés. After 10 months in oak, you can taste spicy flavors that are perfectly balanced with the ripe berry fruits. This result in a Rosé that you can appreciate with a wider range of food.
In the same category, Château d’Esclans can also offer Les Clans. The wine spends 9 months in 600 liters barrels to give a full body, powerful yet fruity and vivid Rosé wine. The concentration and the ripe berry flavors are smoothed by rounded tannins and spiced up with pepper notes at the end.
Another great Gourmet Rosé is also Clos Cibonne Tradition as they have been producing oaked wine for decades. You can definitely taste the years of experience in this Cuvée! Clos Cibonne Tradition ages for 12 to 18 months in hundred-year-old "Foudres" before it gets bottled. You can even enjoy it with a lamb curry!
Château Roubine Lion & Dragon is aged for 6 months in oak barrels to create an intense and original Gourmet Rosé. Juicy and creamy yet, it keeps a beautiful freshness with a long-lasting finish! It is the perfect example of a Rosé that tastes fresh in its youth, and becomes more complex as it gets older. This Gourmet Rosé will stand up to lamb confit, duck or Roquefort Cheese.
The Bangerth Rosé Fumé is also unique of its kind. It is a 100% Pinot Noir Rosé vinified in Barrique. Therefore, you can taste the cherry flavors from the Pinot Noir but also the earthy vanilla tannins from the oak. It has more body than a white wine and is more vivid than a red wine! A good match for Summer Barbecues or winter dinners!
Last but not least: Bobal Rosé from Bodegas Gratias. A part of the fermentation for this unique Rosé happens in oak barrels and ages then 3 months on its lees. The typical aromas of the Bobal grapes balance deliciously with light and harmonic tannins. Very food-friendly but also worth a try on its own!
To conclude and if you only had one thing to remember from this blog article: Rosé goes far beyond its summer drink image! Rosé is not a seasonal, it’s all the time and everywhere! From Pool Rosés to Barrique Rosés, there is something for everyone and every occasion!
Cheers your Club Lavender Team