Barrels “traditional fire bent”



Gamba’s barrels are available with standard capacity of 114, 225, 300. 350, 500 and 700 liters. Unique sizes are available upon request. We believe the talent of a skilled craftsman combined with intuition is of utmost importance in making a premium product.

These attributes allow the master cooper and before him, the merrandiers to “feel” whether or not the wood will make a good stave. Some key factors determining whether a tree meets our standards are: the type of tree and its origin, how well it's cut and how long it’s seasoned. One must understand that wood is a living thing; it moves, breaths and communicates.

Trimming, in which the staves are planed wider in the center and narrower at each end. Assembly, in which narrow and wide staves are positioned in an alternating pattern.
The heating stage, during which an open fire is created inside each raw barrel. The heat makes the wood soft and pliable against the mechanically controlled steel cord that bends the staves and draws them together, starting from the bottom until they are all perfectly in contact/aligned with each other.

The next step is placement of the first head hoop made of galvanized steel milled to the correct thickness, followed by three other so-called "working hoops". At this point, the barrel has its characteristic shape and it's ready to be transferred to toasting over a distinctly different fire.

Toasting, along with the origin of the wood and seasoning, is a very important phase in the production process.

Vanilla, caramel and many of the other aromatic compounds are produced during this stage. After heating to fix the curvature of the stave, the barrel remains over the fire for a minimum of 50 minutes, the time necessary and to modify the phenol content of the wood. In addition to traditional light, medium and strong toasting, our latest research has resulted in the development of a specific temperature controlled slow toasting method called Toast Check™. This process utilizes an infrared hand held monitoring device that aids the craftsman in regulating the toast temperature.
The slow toast has been proven to be more homogeneous and promotes deeper toast penetration into the stave. This process virtually eliminates bitter inner surface burns (blistering) resulting in a sweeter toast that softens the aromatic compounds.
T he outcome is a delicate homogenous toast, which elevates the natural aromas of the wine and provides for greater control/ consistency of the toast from barrel to barrel.

In cooperation with the University of Turin we made a research, and with the results coming from gas chromatographic and sensory analysis, together with the tannin extraction we can point out the following characteristics for each toasting level, showing very different profiles:
Light toast (190 °C for 40 minutes)
the smell of almonds and clove are evident. Hints of licorice and toasted bread can be noted as well. The toasty nuances leave a lot of room to the fruity characteristics of the wine. Tannins are more present here compared to other toasting levels.

Medium toast (205 °C for 45 minutes)
we can note how vanilla, and coconut / oak (from the whiskey lactone) prevail. The impact of cotton candy, chocolate and butterscotch are also important highlighting the sweet character of this toast level. The contribution of the 4-methyl guaiacol is also important giving a bit of a spicy character. The tannins are more degraded, giving less astringency, with a good balance between the fruitiness of the wine and the toasty nuances described above.
Heavy toast (220 °C for 53 minutes)
At this toasting level the sweet notes tend to decrease leaving room to the smoked, toasted nuances. At the sensory evaluation also tobacco and pepper have a good impact. The tannins are much less present at this point compared to the other toasting levels. In the wine we should note a much higher tone of the toasty and smoke character over the fruitiness of the wine.

Upon completion of the toasting stage, the barrel is ready for the router machine that hollows out the grooves or "crozes" into which the heads are inserted. The heads are prepared utilizing a tongue and grove technique and shaped by a milling machine. They can be toasted upon customer request. A special insertion system is used to complete the assembly operation, without the use of any iron nails. Working hoops are removed and replaced by permanent hoops fit into position and nailed. Finally, the barrels are sanded, pressure tested, visually inspected and poly shrink wrapped for protection during transport.


Sede Operativa e Legale: Via Statale, 108/B 14033 Castell’Alfero - Asti - ITALIA
P.I.V.A. 00984550053
TEL. +39(0)141405930 FAX +39(0)141405922