D&J (Dargaud et Jeagle) are the absolute top of the California Pinot Barrel “Cult Barrel” heap. Started in Beaujolais over 100 years ago, the reputation for gentle, polished, classy barrels which lift fruit, gently support the middle, and add a more linear finish is all due to the strict wood culling/ aging, the water bending process. These barrels are perfect for Old World style, Burgundian, or balanced but not bombastic wines. These are offered in forests or house recipe Selections. I trust the Selections, because Climate Change is happening whether its political or not. D&J is known and touted by customers for being absolutely consistent. Quality control is the top priority. And the appearance shows it.
Vallaurine is what happens when the Jeagle family, engineers by trade build a custom cooperage facility replete with special machines designed by them. Vallaurine are fire bent barrels, but as different from a smoke & spice bomb fire bent French as you will find. Again, very gentle for what it is. These are VERY interesting, in that we offer regional barrels under this name. The two prevailing species of French white oak are represented here in geographical designations called Rive Gauche and Rive Droite. One lifts the fruit a little more; One rounds out the wine a little more. Both are great standard French, fire bent barrels. These are as beautiful to look at as they are to smell.
Both of these French brands are toasted much less than their competition. Our medium toast looks like the next guy’s light. When you start with the best wood, you don’t need to hide it with char.
I wasn’t selling these brands back in the old days. I took over the East for these guys in 2020 (just in time!). It has been great to sell these barrels with the support I get from Barrel Associates.