EUROPEAN COOPERS BARREL STATS - PRICE LISTS
Hungarian oak has been historically popular with French winemakers, dating back to the Napoleonic wars, when it was initially substituted for French oak (as the French reserved all domestic oak for naval ship building) in the barrel-making process. Over the last century, political realities have at times prevented the availability of Eastern European oak. With today's open markets, there has been a resurgence of customers both in Australia and our other markets worldwide that have been looking for quality Eastern European oak, and more specifically Hungarian Oak. This is due to a number of reasons: compatibility with specific varietals, regional factors, value for money, and those looking for that point of difference in their wines.
We are pleased to be adding European Coopers to our portfolio as a supplier of premium quality Hungarian oak barrels. European Coopers is one of three principal cooperages in Hungary, and the only one that has remained independent. We were introduced to European Coopers through their outstanding performance in several high profile, blind tastings in which Vincent Bouchard participated last year in Italy. Vincent decided to visit them, and when he saw the quality of the wood they were using and their progressive attitude towards quality production of barrels and customer service, he knew he wanted to work with them.
Read Antinori's letter of recommendation.
European Coopers was established in 1997 and was co-founded by the respected Italian wine producer Antinori. They were interested in quality Hungarian oak barrels for their Chianti and Hungarian wineries. European Coopers controls the entire process of production, from sourcing logs and seasoning staves in their own stave yard, to fabrication and finishing of the barrel. This level of direct control and traceability allows them to produce consistent quality Hungarian Oak barrels that are everything you would expect. European Coopers uses only Hungarian Oak in the production of their barrels and does not source any wood outside Hungary from any of the adjoining Eastern Block countries. They in fact source their wood from two separate forests within Hungary, the Zémplen Hills in the Tokaj region (Northeast Hungary), and the Mecsek Hills in the South near Pécs. They have a particularly good relationship with the forestry agents in these two areas, and European Coopers is the first to choose the logs they want. The species of oak used is the tight-grained Sessile oak, Quercus Petraea.
The stave wood for their barrels is aged a minimum of two years. The barrels are fire bent and toasted using traditional oak burning fire pots. We have observed zero blister tolerance and a pronounced lack of smokiness, despite the relatively deep penetration of the fire.
Stylistically the barrels are soft and subtle, slightly lower impact than their French cousins in terms of power and tend to lift the fruit whilst reducing some of the harsher phenolics, and soften the palate. The barrels bring characters ranging from fresh bread, oats and brown sugar through to roasted nuts, honey and caramel depending on toast profile.
We look forward to working with European Coopers more closely and having you include them in cooper trials, as we are convinced as to the quality and value offered by their barrels.