Port is more than the grapes used to make it. One of the essential elements in making port are the barrels it is matured in. Basically, the styles of port are determined largely by the ways they are aged, so it is not surprising that the barrel has such an influence. However, not all port is aged in a barrel. Some are aged in bottles, and thus mature more slowly due to lower rates of oxidation.
Wood is considered a faster way to mature port, as breathing holes in the wood, allow for gradual oxidation. Smaller barrels speed this process up further.
Although most ports spend roughly 3 years in the barrel maturation process, some spend up to forty years in this state. Two years is the minimum that a wine can be aged and still be considered port.
The maturation process removes a great deal of flavours that people tend to dislike in alcohol. Oakwood is absolutely essential in this process– no other wood has the same qualities. And Those qualities only appear in trees that are almost a century old! This is why when you find a port barrel for sale, you buy it! Used or unused, these barrels are a valuable commodity.
American Oak is considered an excellent choice. As is French Oak. Barrels can be used over and over again– they are far from a single use product! Considering the amount of effort involving in procuring one, this is hardly surprising.
Often, barrels are repurposed across different kinds of alcohol production. For example, whisky barrels may be used for the maturation of port. Sometimes even bourbon barrels are used to produce a distinctive, intense flavour.
You can find port barrels for sale at many wineries. The advantage of buying your own barrel is that you can mature your own port to your own specific preferences. This is a distinct advantage: when you buy a bottle of port, it will mature very slowly as glass does not allow very much oxidation to occur. And of course, a small port barrel offers a great aesthetic appeal sitting on a mantlepiece…. For the true port connoisseur, it’s an obvious choice.