Barrel Sample

Winemakers sometimes offer barrel samples to consumers visiting a winery, but romantic as it might seem to taste a wine directly from its barrel, this practice has one downfall.  Consumers tend to assume that the taste of the barrel sample is indicative of the taste of the final wine.  Often it isn't.  First of all, any wine in a barrel-that is, not yet bottled-is very young.  Between the time it's tasted as a barrel sample and the time it's finally bottled, not only will the wine evolve in flavor but the winemaker may also use various techniques that will change the taste of the ultimate wine.  One example:  A consumer might taste a barrel sample of Cabernet Franc, but the final wine might be Cabernet Franc into which a significant portion of Chambourcin has been blended.