Typical wine casks are 225 liters and look exactly like you’d expect them to. One company would like to change that with their new egg-shaped barrel name Ovum.
This 2000L monstrocity is the brainchild of Taransaud, a French cooprage. It was introduced last year, and according to their press release, the unique shapes “are recognized for their qualities of micro-oxygenation, thermoregulation and their interaction with wine to enhance its body, balance and elegance. In addition, this egg-shaped vat will enable natural mixing of the lees to enhance complexity, purity and precision in the wine.” The question is, does it work? More importantly, does it work well enough to justify an incredible $40,000 price tag?
While the verdict is still out, the initial results were not all that positive. In a blind taste test between wine aged in the Ovum, 225 liter casks, and 400 liter casks, the over-whelming approval was for the 400 liter. The one thing keeping hope alive though is that the wine was only aged for 6 months, half of the planned test time. It’s entirely possible that because of the size/shape, it simply takes more time to get the reactions underway.
One thing’s for sure. Regardless of its usefulness, the Ovum is a work of art. If it ends up not working as a fermentation vessel, it certainly can be displayed for a crowd. I’m sure it will find a place in a museum of wine somewhere, assuming such a place exists. If not, turn it into a playground slide…just watch for splinters.
Oak experiments yield mixed results [The Drinks Business]