8 Wired 2012 Chardonnay Barrel Aged Saison (NZ)

8wiredchardsaison

I’m a bit of a nut for barrel ageing at the moment. With most of my working experience being in wineries, I’ve had my fair share of vino and love the effect barrels have on finished products. Adding complexity, oak, toastiness and a great depth of flavour that accentuates the style: whether it be pinot, shiraz or, in this case, chardonnay. Where the oak comes from also plays a massive role, predominantly either being American or French, each give their own unique flavour. French tends to lend itself to more subtlety: spice and silky textures, while American tends toward bolder, oakier toast notes like coconut with creamy mouthfeel. Lets see how this barrel ageing from 8 Wired has turned out!

Style: Saison

ABV: 7.0%

IBU: N/A

Pour:

Pours a golden orange with what started as fluffy white head but quickly dissipated.

On The Nose:

Lots of stewed apricot, peach, green apple, hints of pineapple and lots of toast, cedar, vanilla and tonnes of oak all thanks to the barrel ageing. Also getting some fresh grapefruit, sweet spices and leathery notes, flint, gun smoke  and lees.

Palate:

Packed with apricot and stewed peach with loads of candied grapefruit pith, lime juice and Granny Smith apple, like you’ve just taken a big bite out of one. Absolutely loving the dryness  in this: puckering citrus rind, leather, cereal and cedar. Getting lots of earthiness too with stoney flinty notes. The barrel ageing is on full display here with lots of oak, toast, cedar and buttery mouthfeel. Getting sweet spices like clove, cinnamon and nutmeg too.

Final Thoughts:

8 Wired have crammed some serious complexity into this brew with the barrel ageing shining incredibly. Drinking this, the similarities of chardonnay and saison is blindingly apparent. Reminiscent of big, oaky chardonnays I’m guessing 8 Wired have used American oak here. Getting juicy citrus, granny smith apple, cereal and leather with flinty steel notes, like licking a whetstone. Classic chardonnay notes. This was a fascinating experiment and one that was fascinating to drink. Really well made and balanced, this is a perfect melding of wine making and beer brewing. Brilliant.

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