Artisan Barrels Selection - Hungarian Oak
Artisan Barrels Selection – Hungarian Oak is a brand that was started in 2010 by our agency. We decided to source, import and offer an increased range of top quality artisanal barrels from Hungary. The barrels are made to our specifications by our trusted cooper Balazs Nagy with whom we've been working with for over 10 years. Mr. Balázs Nagy is a well-known and respected figure among Hungarian coopers. Over the past 20 years, Mr. Nagy has visited and studied many of the largest cooperages in the world. His expertise and experience shone in the mid-1990s, as under his leadership, one of Europe's best equipped, highest quality cooperages was built in South-Western Hungary. Then in 2002, he set out to top himself and founded his own cooperage in his home town of Botykapeterd, which became fully operational in 2004.
Barrels manufactured by Mr. Balázs Nagy are second to none in quality. In terms of craftsmanship Balázs barrels can only be compared to the highest quality French oak barrels. Mr. Balázs Nagy, the master cooper, personally selects every log and only the finest-grained, healthiest wood makes his cut: as per the French tradition, such logs are split with an ax not quarter sawn resulting in mechanically sound barrels. The cooperage is produced of 100% Quercus petraea, sourced exclusively from the old-growth forests of the Zemplén Mountains (north of Tokaj) in northeastern Hungary. Zemplén's Quercus petraea (the same species of oak as French) is the ideal raw material for premium cooperage. The cool temperatures and rocky soil of the foothills of northeastern Hungary slow the growth of oak trees, thereby making them remarkably tight-grained. The tighter grains allow for a subtle extraction that gives winemakers the option of prolonged barrel aging.
Our barrels made from this oak add complexity, color, and character to wine, while greatly enhancing the palate possibilities, mouth feel, color, and stability. Delicate tannins and complimentary flavors that are desirable for most red wines, and many whites, are provided by Hungarian oak. However, the effects are not overpowering and do not mask the flavor of the grape. Subtle oak tones, a smooth, round mouth feel and the ability to accentuate natural fruit flavors of wine are major reasons why Hungarian oak is becoming more prominent in many winemaking programs.