Thank you Blake Leja and Peter Plaehn for tackling last week's topic on Rain Timing! There certainly was not an easy answer so take a look at the discussion if you missed it!
This week: Barrel Toast Levels
How does the level of toast on a barrel influence wines aged in it from a flavor and tannin standpoint? How else may the wine be impacted by the level of toast?
From my understanding the levels of toast on the barrel go hand in hand with the style of wine desired by the winemaker. The heavier the toast the more extensively the compounds found in the wood breakdown and have their greatest impact on the wine. The heavier the toast also reduces the amount of wood tannin that is imparted into the wine. This would mean that the lighter the toast on the barrel will impart less typical oak flavors to the wine but add a greater amount of wood tannins. I'm curious if anyone else has perspective on wood tannins and typical oak flavors being imparted into the wine through different levels of toast?
Thinking about this a little more I also think that there are differences in flavors imparted to the wine due to the way that the barrels were toasted. I would like to hear from someone who is more familiar with the way barrels are toasted for wine v. the way they are toasted for spirits like whiskey. Do you think convection toasting imparts different flavors to the wine than say fire toasting? Also the level at which the barrel has been toasted and at what temperature. Higher temp flame will burn the oak faster and thus the toast will not penetrate as deep into the wood than a lower burning flame. A convection toast will be more uniform but offer no charring.
Had anyone used or seen "alligator skin" char used for wine? (This is a deep, deep char) I would think that would be a little too much for thicker skinned grapes.