What is one to do with varied interests and blogs about woodworking, food, and random funnyness? Once in a while the universe opens up and proves that even as scattered as we think our lives and interests are, that everything is (once in a while) truly interconnected. (and we get to kill 3 blogs with one stone. Except this stone is a piece of wine soaked, charred oak.
I was listening to a back log of food podcasts from Don Genova – a Canadian writer/broadcast journalist/podcaster I enjoy (his voice reminds me of a cross between Rick Steves, and my friend Mike – which is entertaining, and very listenable in itself)… where he visited a French cooperage (one woodworking profession that is still relevant today, but mostly forgotten) and got to talk to the Nth generation running it about how the wood effects the wine, and the differences between American and French oak, etc…
Forget steam bending. Fire bending!
More photos of the process on Don’s blog even more (gorgeous) photos and slideshow at Francois Freres site. Bear with it, as the English link seems broken.
It was cool to hear about all the proper woodworking that goes into their barrels, brining in new oak trees from the forest of central france, cutting and drying the wood for a couple years, and from there only using wood as a fuel source to heat shape and char (carmelize) the insides of the barrels.
Anyhow, this got to me thinking,… that while tastes surely change and evolve over time… historically I never liked “oaky” wines, (and hence Scotch) for the buttery, vanilla etc… flavors that the oak imparts…. Little did I realize that as I got more and more into woodworking (and my wife and I learned more about wines thanks to a side venture of hers this past year) My prejudice against “oakiness” has changed. Just this week I was ripping down a dozen oak treads, and savoring the rich buttery aroma of the wood, almost drooling over what would best go with. (Brie surely, crabcakes, no Lobster. Salmon! mmm)
These little passions of ours invade, and enhance our lives in many ways!
Now where’s that 12 year old doublewood Scotch I’ve been saving…