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wine, wood and (no song)

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Blog entry by scottb posted 01-18-2008 07:18 AM 916 reads 1 time favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This one may seem off topic, but it is still (really) about wood.

I was listening to a back log of food podcasts from Don Genova – a Canadian writer/broadcast journalist/podcaster I enjoy (his voice reminds me of a cross between Rick Steves, and my friend Mike – which is entertaining, and very listenable in itself)... where he visited a French cooperage (one woodworking profession that is still relevant today, but mostly forgotten) and got to talk to the Nth generation running it about how the wood effects the wine, and the differences between American and French oak, etc…

Forget steam bending. Fire bending!

More photos of the process on Don's blog
even more (gorgeous) photos and slideshow at francois freres site. Bear with it, as the english link seems broken.

Anyhow, this got to me thinking,... that while tastes surely change and evolve over time… historically I never liked “oaky” wines, (and hence Scotch) for the buttery, vanilla etc… flavors that the oak imparts…. Little did I realize that as I got more and more into woodworking (and my wife and I learned more about wines thanks to a side venture of hers this past year) My prejudice against “oakiness” has changed.

Just this week I was ripping down a dozen oak treads, and savoring the rich buttery aroma of the wood, almost drooling over what would best go with. (Brie surely, crabcakes, no Lobster. Salmon! mmm)

This little passion of ours invades, and enhances our lives in many ways!

Now where’s that 12 year old Scotch I’ve been saving…

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/



13 comments so far

View Karson's profile

Karson

35035 posts in 3866 days


#1 posted 01-18-2008 07:22 AM

Fire bending. Neet. Everything is better with cherry wood smoke, Oak, Walnut, Maple, Mesquite. I’m getting hungry.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia karsonwm@gmail.com †

View Dadoo's profile

Dadoo

1789 posts in 3456 days


#2 posted 01-18-2008 07:39 AM

I used some scrap hickory the other day to create just about the best batch of kippered london broil strips you ever had. And I’ve found that cedar siding, cut to length and soaked in water for a half hour, makes an excellent slab for grilling fish. No fuss. No turning. No mess. Just smoke it till the meat flakes off the bones.

Scotch? Naw. Wild Turkey Rare Breed! Soooo smoooth!

Ain’t life just great?

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 3454 days


#3 posted 01-18-2008 09:52 AM

I haven’t used fire for bending, but I have used a heat gun.

Doesn’t make things tasty though.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View rikkor's profile

rikkor

11295 posts in 3340 days


#4 posted 01-18-2008 11:52 AM

Just be sure the cedar isn’t treated. All smoked food is better than non-smoked.

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 3626 days


#5 posted 01-18-2008 01:17 PM

wood, food, wine, cheese.. my goodness, this was an interesting blog

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View RobS's profile

RobS

1334 posts in 3772 days


#6 posted 01-18-2008 04:45 PM

Always interesting how some of these methods stand the tests of time. Dirty Jobs did a episode about coopers too. If you watch it often enough, you’ll probably see it in a rerun, or one of their marathon days.

-- Rob (A) Waxahachie,TX

View RobS's profile

RobS

1334 posts in 3772 days


#7 posted 01-18-2008 05:26 PM

Always interesting how some of these methods stand the tests of time. Dirty Jobs did a episode about coopers too. If you watch it often enough, you’ll probably see it in a rerun, or one of their marathon days.

-- Rob (A) Waxahachie,TX

View scottb's profile

scottb

3648 posts in 3793 days


#8 posted 01-19-2008 02:12 AM

I forgot to mention, it was cool to hear about woodworking from a food writer, describing how they bring in new oak from forests of central France, how they cut and sticker the wood so it can dry for a couple years, (green wood for wine, Mais Non!). Then they only use wood for the fires when heating the wood to shape it, and char it (who wants residue of solvents or accelerants to possibly taint the charred, umm… carmelized flavors of the wine barrel.

(meanwhile I’m expecting them to mention terroir to help describe and explain the differences between French and American oak flavors)

Woodworking gets into our pores, our blood, our DNA through our environment, and our victuals!

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 3565 days


#9 posted 01-19-2008 05:38 AM

I read only on in my interest of woodworking that it is the heat that allows the fibers in the wood to become flexible enough to bend and hold form when cooled. It has less to do with the water.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View scottb's profile

scottb

3648 posts in 3793 days


#10 posted 01-19-2008 06:58 AM

so we find there are options apart from steam bending… though since they intend to char the inside of the casks and barrels, they won’t mind if things get a little toasted… whereas if we were trying to bend runners for a rocking chair, we certainly would.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 3454 days


#11 posted 01-19-2008 07:07 AM

For the VERY large timbers in wooden sailing ships, they used to boil them in salt water for bending.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View scottb's profile

scottb

3648 posts in 3793 days


#12 posted 01-19-2008 07:13 AM

Really? Does, salt water have a higher boiling point? I can’t imagine the boiling tanks they’d need!

I thought of doing “steam” bending in the dishwasher, but figured the water would keep the wood from getting as hot as the steam.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 3454 days


#13 posted 01-19-2008 07:33 AM

I was talking to some of the guys that re-fit the USS Constitution in Boston when I visited there.
I actually went on one of their turn around cruises to the mouth of the harbor on her.

That’s what they said they did after some research on how they did it in ‘the old days’.
Most of the smaller timbers they steam bent.

For steam bending I use a steam wall paper remover.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

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