Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Closer Look at the Use and Effects of Barrique Barrels

Barrique is the name for the wooden barrels of appropriate shape and volume, which, in different French provinces, can vary from 80-305 liters.

The world’s most famous is Bordeaux barriques of 225 liters. Wooden containers for centuries have had a dominant role in the production, storage and transportation of wine. In Europe, for this purpose, in addition to the oak, chestnut wood, acacia and cherry wood were also used. However, the last 20 years has been dominated by oak barrels - partly due to the increased use of inert materials (stainless steel), but also because the aroma of oak is best paired with wine.

So, in additon the maturation of wine, barrique barrels are used for the extraction of aromas and tannins, which are so important for quality wines. That’s why their volume is so small – smaller wine barrels give a stronger flavor of oak to the wine because, compared to the small volume of wine in it, the surface of the barrel is big. Barrique is therefore at the same time a name for the barrel, the process of aging the wine in that barrel, and also a name for the wine which has been aged in barrique barrels.


Today, barrique barrels are mostly made of three different types of oak: sessile oak and red oak - European types of oak; and American white oak.
Wood from which the barrels are made is naturally drying for 24-30 months under the influence of climate changes: rain, sun, wind, snow. The lower and middle part of the trunk is carefully tearing along the structure of the wood into planks. Dry planks are folded by the use of direct fire, and then, with the help of a metal ring formed in the barrel. The barrels are then slowly and gently burnt (toasted), to highlight the aroma of wood. The level of toasting (combustion) can be low, medium or high.

Oak wood consists of several dominant substances which decompose by burning, thereby generating new substances exceeding the wine. Therefore, the quality of the barrel depends on the type of wood but also on the success of toasting. The barrels that are more toasted release aromas faster and more intensely into the wine.


In order to have “barrique taste” in the wine, the following characteristics of the barrel are very important: size, thickness and charring staves, and in particular the quality of the oak wood which enriches the wine with tannins and vanilla.

The strongest flavor comes from the most aromatic type of oak, and the more porous wood is, the stronger is the flavor. The most porous wood is usually one that is growing the fastest. As oak in the forest Limousin in France is growing very fast, it’s extremely aromatic and gives the wine a distinct flavor "of oak". American oak from wet coastal forests of California gives the wine a sweet taste of coconut and vanilla, and French oak from the cold Baltic forests has low porosity and gives the wine delicate aromas. The slowest-growing oak comes from the Tronco forests in France, and many consider it to be the best one.

Barrels are like lungs for wine that is aging. Oxygen slowly enters through planks of the barrel causing the oxidation of wine. This process allows the stabilization of wine color and gives the wine a richer flavor. At the same time, alcohol and water evaporate from the barrels. Yeasts are settled at the bottom of the barrel, and the sweetness and tannins from the oak slowly mixes with the wine, giving it a special flavor. The aroma of wood that wine takes from the barrel is precisely the scents like vanilla, toast, smoke and various spices. These aromas are more complex as the barrel is more toasted. Also, more toasted barrels mean stronger contribution of the coconut aroma. When barrels are toasted most strongly, the aroma of the wood itself is reduced, and the scents of smoke stand out. 

Bastijana to Host Major Press Trip with Journalists from 18 Countries

The tourist season may be over, but the work to promote Tomic wines continues.

Next week sees the arrival of a major press trip to Hvar's vineyards and wineries, organised by the Hvar Wine Assocation, with journalists from an impressive 18 countries visiting the island and its winemakers for 24 hours, ahead of this year's Zagreb Vinocom fair.

The doors of Bastijana will be open to our welcome guests on November 25, where Andro will be hosting a wine tasting and dinner. The journalists are coming from the following countries, in addtion to Croatia: Germany, Poland, Austria, Finland, Switzerland, Hungary, Russia, Spain, Luxemburg, UK, Israel, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Serbia, Denmark, Macedonia, Indonesia.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Bastijana Through the Lens of Vedran Segvic

There was a lovely surpise in the Bastijana inbox this week, as Jelsa photographer Vedran Segvic sent in these excellent pictures of one of the great occasions of the year at the Tomic winery - the traditional Vela Gospa lunch in mid-August, where friends and employees are invited for a meal and a glass or two of wine by Andro and family. 

It was a great occasion as these pictures show. Thank you, Vedran! Great shots! 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Which Wine Glass Should You Use?


In order to really enjoy wine, one should have a good wine glass. Wine lovers often say that a glass is final clothing of some wine. To demonstrate the right color of wine in it, the glass should be thin, colorless and smooth. Wall wine glasses must be cone-shaped, with a wider bottom and narrower tip. This form ensures that (when gently swirling the wine in the glass) aromas of a wine concentrate on the top of the glass, which allows us to better and easier evaluate the wine. Also, if we swirl the wine too much, a cone shape makes the wine more difficult to "escape" out the glass. 

The height of the leg is important because it determines how much heat from the hand ie. the palm will cross on the glass (preferably less). That is why wine glasses are held by the leg, to prevent heating of the wine. White wine glasses have less capacity compared to those from which we drink red wine. The reason lies in the fact that white wine is drunk cooler than red, so we can drink this smaller quantity of wine before it warms up. The glass should never be filled to the brim, and when you are pouring the wine into glasses you should be careful that the neck of the bottle is never pressed against the edge of the glass.

From left to right: white wine glass, red wine glass, rosé wine glass, sparkling wine glass, dessert wine glass.

Tomic Attends Sabatina 2014 in Dubrovnik

The grapes are harvested, the hard work of processing the 2014 vintage is mostly done, and attention once more turns to promoting the wines of Bastijana.

Andro Tomic headed south to Hotel Asterea in Mlini, near Dubrovnik this week, to take part in the annual Sabatina wine festival, which was held on Hvar last year, with Andro receiving the 'Stjepan Bulic' award.

Sabatina 2014 continues for two more days - click here for more information

Thursday, November 6, 2014

What to Do When It Rains on Hvar? Wine Tasting at Tomic

Life on a sunshine island has its attractions, and there is a reason why the beaches of Hvar are one of its most popular attractions.

But what is there to do on the rare occasions when Hvar's famous blue skies cloud over and it rains?

Rain, wind, or shine, the Tomic wine tasting experience awaits tourists and wine lovers who want to discover something a little different. In the Romanesque wine cellars at the Bastijana winery in Jelsa, tasting wine is not dependent on the weather, but it makes for an excellent way to spend the time while waiting for the traditional blue skies to return.

Wine tastings, from two persons to groups of more than 100, can be made by appointment throughout the year. For more information and to book, visit the Bastijana website

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Life with the Tomic Family by a Master of Wine

Life at Bastijana has been a little more interesting this Autumn, as our very welcome guest, Master of Wine Jo Ahearne, has been busily selecting grapes for her very own production on Hvar, and the Bastijana team has been delighted to help her in her pilot project, which is great PR for the Hvar wine industry. 

Communicating in French with Andro, and in English with the rest of the team, it has been a multi-lingual time with much fun and useful exchanges of views and experiences. Jo recently sat down with Digital Journal to talk about her initial Hvar experiences. Read the full interview here.