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What Now for Chardonnay (French Oak)
Description: The first French Oak barrel used in California Sirgue, which was used to make the Chalone Chardonnay that was in the 1976 Judgement of Paris. Luxury Chardonnay development between 1980 and 2000 saw the use of many other coopers’ barrels. Then in 2002 the Chardonnay market collapsed and much of the knowledge of what is the right barrel for Chardonnay disappeared as winemakers stopped buying expensive barrels to make a wine with a $12 to $18 price tag. Today we need to ask you, “What is the right barrel for making luxury Chardonnay?” “What about making mid-priced Chardonnays?” Tell us a little about your Chardonnay barrels.
Sirgue barrels use was born in the Californai Central Coast and migrated north to Sonoma County. Dick Graff was the first person to import Sirgue barrels. As far as we can tell they were used at Chalone, Calera, throughout the Santa Cruz Mountains by Ridge, Smothers, Felton-Empire, David Bruce and others. They went north with Kistler, who had worked at Ridge. They were tried at Peter Michael and found there way into the Napa Valley via Acacia. We do not believe they were widespread in the Napa Valley. They impart are a creamy, smooth, vanilla, without much toast.