zemplen_barrels

Hungarian Oak

The Hungarian Zemplén oak is the same species as French oak, but this gentle oak, growing in a colder microclimate, has even tighter grain and more subtle impact. Hungarian oak is “more French than French.”

The trees in the Zemplén Mountains grow slower in the volcanic soil and smaller, creating fine tight grain which sequentially lends itself to a very delicate extraction.

The hemicellulose in the Hungarian oak breaks down more easily, and conveys an exceptional selection of toasted, vanilla, sugary, woody, spicy and caramel-like flavors – imparting these aromas with less intensity, and slower than American or French oak.

Many winemakers favor the softer, smoother, creamier texture that Hungarian oak offers their wines. French winemakers preferred to use Hungarian barrels until the early XX. Century, then – because of World Wars, supply cut – the French wine industry was forced to find its own source in France, similar to the unique quality, legendary Hungarian Zemplén oak.

However, after the fall of the “Iron Curtain”, the cooperages from France, again became major consumers of the exclusive Quercus petraea/Sessile Hungarian Oak trees, originated in the Zemplén Mountain Forest.