Hungarian Oak .  
The European oak species Quercues Petraea found in the Hungarian forests of Zemplen hills is used in our barrel making.

Quercus petraea tends to prefer lighter, better-drained soils and cool continental climate, similar to the climate of France. The frost tolerant Q. petraea is a tight grain oak with dense growth rings. This species is the same as the tight grain oak from the Alliers and Nevers region of France.
Traditionally the oak from the Zemplen Hills was highly sought after by the French coopers in the mid nineteenth century, to supply the great Chateaux of France.  Winemakers preferred the softer, smoother texture Hungarian oak offered to their wines, especially in their early development. Our oak barrels are crafted the very traditional way by hand splitting the wood. This age old process remains the only way to produce watertight staves without compromising the integrity of the oak. 
The wood is loosely stacked and rotated periodically to ensure proper ventilation and even seasoning.
Left in the open air for a minimum of 24 months, including two summers, the staves are naturally dried by the sun, wind and rain. In this process harsh tannins and other impurities are removed from the wood (staves). 
Then the staves are carefully selected and examined before they are assembled for toasting.
Toasting over oak fire is one of the most important steps in barrel making.  In order to achieve desired toast level with an evenly deep penetration one must control the temperature and heating time of the toasting process. 
 The intensity and duration of the toasting process influences the aromas and flavors the barrel will contribute to the wine. 
Our medium toast level oak barrels have a warm, sweet character with strong vanilla overtones and a hint of butterscotch.