Posts Tagged ‘Cask’

Champagne and the use of oak.

Champagne and the use of oak.

 

While there is no consensus on the use of oak in Champagne production, Michael Edwards considers when it can have a beneficial effect
NOT SO long ago, a sure-fire way of generating a heated argument between winemakers in Champagne (as in Chablis) was to talk about the virtues and pitfalls of making their best, purest wine in oak. There’s one fine grower in a grand cru village, a charming and highly educated man, who grows apoplectic at the thought of his precious Champagne being sullied by a single wooden stave. Certainly since the late 1960s, stainless steel has become the overwhelmingly preferred medium of fermentation in Champagne – because in tank, control of the grape’s journey into wine is complete and it’s easier to use. By the early 1990s, only a few perfectionists led by Krug, Bollinger and Selosse stayed true to their barrels and casks.
Fruits of the forest

How things change. Twenty years on, it’s reckoned that about 100 Champagne producers use oak in one form or other: to ferment the wine, partially or fully, to age the reserve wines or, easily forgotten, when making the wine for the dosage – a crucial skill.

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Real ale lover Geoff Quinn tried his first home brew in his garage just four years ago. Not long afterwards he formed Buxton Brewery, which now has a £500,000 turnover and is exporting ten per cent of its beer, much of it to Holland and Belgium, both famous for their own beers.
‘It’s a bit like selling coals to Newcastle,’ says Geoff, 41, who is the company’s managing director.
‘I’ve always liked beer, rather fancied the idea of brewing my own, and eventually decided to take the plunge,’ he says.

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