An increasing number of Rioja wineries have embraced receiving visitors but only a few have made a visit to the winery an experience rather than just a tour. Bodegas Paco García, a small, family-owned winery in Murillo del Río Leza in Rioja Oriental has gone a step further by offering consumers experiences that they can enjoy at home with their friends.
To date, the winery has launched three experiences. The first was to discover the garnacha grape. The second was a crianza (≥ 12 months aging in oak casks) made exclusively from graciano grapes.
The third experience, called duelo de robles (duel of oaks) offers consumers a box with two bottles of Paco Garcia crianza 2014, one aged in American oak and the other in French oak, but you don’t know which is which. Before opening each bottle for tasting, there’s a detailed explanation on the inside of the box explaining the differences between each type of oak.
According to the winery:
American oak (Quercus alba)
- Indigenous to the East Coast of North America;
- The trunk is cut with a saw, not split. The entire trunk can be used.
- Extremely hard wood, almost impermeable, making it difficult for air to pass through the staves, making for slower evolution of the wine;
- Wine aged in American oak is powerful on the palate;
- Typical aromas include vanilla, coconut, coffee, cocoa and tobacco.
French oak (Quercus petraea)
- Found in western, central and southern Europe, mainly in France)
- The trunk is split, not sawn. Consequently a lot of wood is wasted.
- Wine aged in French oak has a silkier texture. The most characteristic aromas are honey, vanilla, dried nuts and sweet spices.
Following this explanation, the experience suggests opening each bottle, asking consumers to guess which wine is aged in French and which in American oak.
After everyone guesses, participants peel back a corner of the back label on each bottle to discover the secret.
What an idea! We tried it at home with friends a week ago and had a great time! I’ve tasted other Rioja brands aged in both types of oak but none of the wineries have made the comparison so much fun.
I’m looking forward to the next Paco García Experience and am sure it will be both entertaining and instructive.
Bodegas Paco García www.bodegaspacogarcia.com