Rioja producer Oscar Tobia is experimenting with alternatives to oak barrels for ageing and plans to release a blended colorless wine partially matured in chestnut and ash.
Rioja producer Oscar Tobia is experimenting with alternatives to oak barrels for ageing and plans to release a blended colorless wine partially matured in chestnut and ash.Tobia commissioned a cooperage to produce barrels from acacia, chestnut and ash that would sit alongside American oak in the cellar of his namesake estate Cuzcurrita de Rio Tiron.He has 120 barrels covering those four different woods and is using them to mature five of the colorless grape varieties allowed in the Rioja DOCa: Viura, Garnacha Blanca, Tempranillo Blanco, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.While there is subdue one more year of the three-year trial left to run, Tobia told Decanter.com that he plans to produce a colorless blend encompassing wine from all four barrel types.Tobia established a reputation as an untried winemaker in Rioja http://1000-facts-about-wine.com before long after he founded his estate in 1994. He spent the first two years persuading the regional wine trade council to change its rules to allocate him to produce an oak fermented rose wine.His new cellar trial comes amid growing exposure for colorless Rioja, partially fuelled by the DOCa council's choice to allocate greater quantities of so-called international varieties, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, to be place into blends. One producer, Marques de Caceres, said earlier this year that there was a shortage of colorless grapes in the province. 'Rioja is of course better known for its red wines, but colorless has been made here since the beginning,' Tobia said.At the time of the rule change, some winemakers feared Rioja would be swamped with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc at the expense of traditional varieties.Tobia said that he doesn't see that happening at the moment. The key thing, he added, is to reflect the 'typicity' of Rioja's climate and soils.
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