Is bourbon barrel wine a gimmick? Does it really make a difference in the taste of wine? Well, you, the consumer, will need to taste and decide.
First, let’s take a look at the barrel that was once used to age Bourbon. By law, Bourbon barrels must be made from 100% American oak, and they must be heavily charred. That alone will add a deep, unique taste to any bourbon barrel wine aged in the second-hand barrel. Plus, during the Bourbon aging process, some liquid is absorbed and left behind in the barrel. So, the wine will age with charred oak and the sweet taste of Bourbon.
Bourbon barrel wine aging is definitely on-trend right now. However, this type of aging is not new….. a few decades ago, winemakers were using Bourbon barrels for aging wine due to necessity. The difference is that a few decades ago, winemakers just weren’t talking about it. And they were not using it as a marketing advantage.
Aging wine in new French oak barrels is costly and a big deal for winemakers just getting started. Bourbon is enjoying a surge in the United States. With that surge, you are seeing Bourbon barrels being used for multiple second-market purposes such as beer and even maple syrup. Capitalizing on the huge boom in popularity has brought bourbon barrel wine into this new space too.
Winemakers are combining traditional California winemaking with this unique aging process to offer consumers a bolder and more vibrant wine.
Only heaven knows if the marriage of wine and whiskey barrels will last. Still, a handful of these out of the ordinary wines bourbon barrel wines are available right now…..at the Wine Mill. This idea could create skepticism in a wine purist, and I have to admit that it did cause me to raise a proverbial eyebrow. But being a don’t-knock-it-til-you-try-it kinda girl, I decided to see what these whiskey barrel wines were all about. And I was pleasantly surprised!
A Bourbon-aged red sounds perfect for a cold Virginia night. Pair with smoked foods or a grilled steak.
Is a Bourbon barrel wine right for you? Come on by the Wine Mill, and let us help you decide!
If you are in Winchester, you might like to try an old fashioned at the Limelight – just like Buffalo Bill used to drink.