Wines aged in spirit barrels have become increasingly popular. From Cabernet Sauvignon to Petite Sirah, the subtle influences of the barrels create intense, full-bodied wines with typical whiskey flavors of vanilla, spice, smoke and high tannins.
Here are seven of the best bourbon barrel-aged red wines to try.
Josh Cellars 2019 Bourbon Barrel Aged Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (California); $17, 91 points. This attractive, full-bodied wine is one of the best Bourbon barrel styles yet. It is nicely packed with blackberry and black currant flavors and laced with ample fine-grained tannins for a mouth-filling effect. Excellent concentration and ripeness add to its appeal, while the Bourbon effect is mild. —Jim Gordon
Aloria 2016 Forté Estate Bourbon Barrel Aged Syrah (Calaveras County); $22, 90 points. Quite sweet and relatively soft, this broad-textured wine is mouth-filling and luscious. It’s stuffed full of blackberry jam and black cherry syrup flavors that linger on the jammy finish. —J.G.
Sebastiani 2018 Bourbon Barrel Aged Red (North Coast); $18, 90 points. Robust and concentrated, this fully tannic wine boasts rich black-fruit flavors, generous oak accents and a big, mouth-filling texture. Blackberries, vanilla, clove and cinnamon arrive in the aroma and last through the finish. —J.G.
Layer Cake 2019 Bourbon Barrel Aged Cabernet Sauvignon (California); $17, 89 points. Sturdy and flavorful, a good structure supports ample black cherry and blackberry flavors in this moderately tannic and full-bodied wine. It tastes deep and ripe, with light oak spice accents. —J.G.
Bogle 2018 Bourbon Barrel Aged Petite Sirah (California); $35, 88 points. Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate saturates this unconventional, full-bodied, and seemingly sweet wine in the aromas, the flavors and the finish. Hints of blueberries and raspberry syrup form a core of fruitiness soothed by soft tannins. —J.G.
Stave & Steel 2018 Bourbon Barrel Aged Cabernet Sauvignon (California); $20, 88 points. This hearty, bold wine starts with meaty aromas of woodsmoke and black pepper, pours ripe blackberries and dark chocolate on the palate and coats them with moderate, fine-grained tannins. —J.G.
Beringer Bros. 2019 Bourbon Barrel Aged Red (California); $20, 87 points. A touch of sweetness smoothes out this very ripe and saturated wine, as full body and moderate tannins support black plums, black cherries and a subtle whiskey accent. It’s big and robust but well polished. —J.G.