What is an “ Orphaned Barrel” you may be wondering?? Well this vernacular is more common in the world of Whiskey distillers but…I have on purpose always left some barrels to sit and languish, pulled off to the side so the wine can be “ignored” without going through any of the typical rackings and filtration processes….thus the wine sits on sediment for years and you get what is called yeast autolysis. This makes for a very rich, creamy and velvety taste. Developing into complex notes such as earthy, tobacco and herbaceous components that make for rare tasting wine.
The reason I don’t do all our barrels like this is because of the inherently high risk of losing the wine to off smells and tastes like “rotten egg” and other mercaptans (hydrogen sulfide).
So…it is a double edged sword to let the wine sit unattended and risk losing the whole barrel…( which has happened enough times in my 35 years of making wine) but every now and then…providence enters into the equation and we get to celebrate with delicious and unique tasting wines that will give you a whole new perspective on wine tasting.