The first-year barrels
NAPA VALLEY, Calif.--Up here in wine country, as the days get shorter, it can only mean one thing: harvest. Sure enough, all across this beautiful, rich, and lush vineyard-covered region, wineries big and small are bringing in the grapes, and getting ready to bottle their 2010 vintages.
That's why CNET reporter Daniel Terdiman headed up to this sun-soaked area about an hour north of San Francisco--to see how harvest works at both a high-end major label (Robert Mondavi Winery), and a well-regarded boutique winery (Alpha Omega). And while their practices are quite similar, there are also some significant differences.
This is the first-year barrels room at the Robert Mondavi Winery's To Kalon Cellar, where thousands of cases' worth of $150-a-bottle Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve come after sitting for about 45 days in fermentation tanks. The wine will stay in these barrels for a year, after which the winemakers will taste each barrel and then make blending decisions that will determine which wine goes into the second-year barrels.
Each barrel in the first-year room is made from brand-new French oak and costs $1,600.
October 19, 2010 10:09 AM PDT
Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET
| Caption by: Daniel Terdiman
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