The account given was that as the vineyards in Saint Emillion produce complex wines, they are in constant need of extra tannins. They are supplied by new oak barrels bought in large numbers. At Chateau Haut Sarpe alone, they order 80% new barrels every year at the cost of around 500 EUR each. As the amount sharply decrease, each barrel is used only 2-3 years to store the premium wines. There after the barrels are used to store less exclusive wines produced at the estates.
The oak barrels are then sold on, at a fraction of the price, either to Portugal to produce port wine or Ireland or Scotland to be used to store whiskey. If you think that this marks the end of the barrels life, think again.
My good friend Susanne was told that the barrels at the end of its life, no longer fit for production were sold to Thailand. The thrifty Thais flattened the rounded oak wood to produce – floors!!! Believe it or not!
If this is not a fascinating food story, what is? I do not know. I would not mind having a wooden floor with such a past