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TimSmithWines

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Wine Business Magazine - A BIG Trend - Tim Smith

Barossa Valley winemaker Tim Smith likes his motorbikes fast and his barrels big. He's been moving to larger format oak including puncheons for Viognier, Grenache and Mataro. "With puncheons you get nice slow maturation without the oak influence," he says. "I only use French puncheons. I want some development with Mataro and Grenache just to round off or give some texture to the palate. These wines typically only see 12 months in oak, so the oak influence is bugger all."

 

But Tim is not convinced that puncheons are the way to go for Shiraz. "I've just looked at some Shiraz blends and with puncheons I dont see the concentration I'd like to see in Shiraz," he says. "Hogsheads all the way with Shiraz for me - no barriques ether; too much concentration. Essentially, it's about getting the right oak for the right wine and style. I know it's about as fashionable as being a Cows supporter, but I do like a bit of American Oak in Shiraz for a few reasons - mostly because it does add  a certain degree of sweetness to the palate, but I don't like the coconut or Iced Vo-Vo characters that some American oak coopers impart. The second reason is because Barossa Shiraz was really put on the map during the 60's, 70's and 80's by the likes of Grange and other 'old school' styles and it has become almost a 'regional style'. I like the idea of maintaining some sense of respect for what a previous generation of revolutionary winemakers did, including Schubert, O'Callaghan, Melton, Duval, Blackwell, etc."

 

Tim is also looking at different coopers for American Oak. "It's kind of 'uncool' to use at the the moment, but having had the luck of making a few trophy winning wines in the past I have seen what really seems to get noticed," he says. "There's a place for it, for sure..

 

Tim is also looking at different coopers for American Oak. "It's kind of 'uncool' to use at the the moment, but having had the luck of making a few trophy winning wines in the past I have seen what really seems to get noticed," he says. "There's a place for it, for sure. It's not American oak itself that is the problem, it’s the poor quality we’ve had in the past that’s given it a bad name.”