April 15, 2010 | by Lisa Mattson

Every winter, the Jordan winemaking team spends several weeks conducting a series of wine barrel cooperage blind tastings to assess the merits of each cooperage from which we source barrels for oak aging Jordan Chardonnay and Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon. Although we only work with the finest coopers, primarily makers of French oak barrels, we still believe it’s important to test each wine barrel cooperage’s performance every year to ensure the quality and consistency of the oak meet our standards. To create this blind tasting as part of the Jordan winemaking process, Jordan Chardonnay and Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon samples from each newborn vintage are set aside and placed in a series of new French oak barrels–one for each of the coopers. The wines age in oak for the desired amount of time (5-6 months for an elegant oak aged Chardonnay and about 12 months for a silky, elegant oak aged Cabernet Sauvignon) before all of the samples are collected from each barrel and tasted blind. The winemakers are looking to see if a specific cooper’s wine barrel is too toasty, too woody, too strong or too weak. It’s important that the wine barrel support the fruit and help give structure to the wine without contributing flavors that would overpower the fruit and natural acidity of the wine–like wood or burnt toast.