Today I interviewed Rick DeFerrari and Jenny Berg–significant other partners–for the Garage Winemaker story I'm doing. After 6 years of being assistant winemaker at Elk Cove, Jenny is now the head librarian in McMinnville. Rick happens to make wine barrels at Oregon Barrel Works and wine in the corner of a commercial space. Perfect.
We tasted some 2009 harvested Pinot Noir from Elk Cove's Mt. Richmond vineyard taken from three different barrels: 1) a newly made barrel, 2) a barrel used one time and 3) one used two times. Although they were aged for slightly different periods (30 or 36 months), all the barrels were lightly toasted. Let me add that Rick and Jenny are experimenting with partial whole cluster complete with stems fermentation in the mix.
So could I taste a difference? Yea. The biggest difference, I detected a slight green stem flavor but only in Pinot from the new barrel.