One of LAN’s distinguishing traits is its innovation in ageing. More 20 years ago, we were pioneers in the use of hybrid barrels – with American oak staves and French oak bases, – which we continue to use for LAN Crianza and LAN Reserva. This incessant search for unique characteristics that make our wines stand out has resulted in the selection of oak barrels from diverse origins: French, from forests in the centre of the country, such as Allier, Tronçais, Jupille, Blois; American, from areas close to the Appalachians, in the states of Ohio and Missouri; Russian, from the Caucasus region and the republic of Adygea; and Hungarian.
In 2015, we selected a new type of oak, Spanish oak of the Quercus pyrenaica variety. We started out with just six barrels and we discovered different nuances: it gave greater freshness to the wine, with more menthol and resinous notes. We continue to carry out experiments, comparing wines from the same origin, aged in different types of oak. And the results seemed so interesting that in the year 2016 we used thirty Spanish oak barrels to age this wine, the new LAN 7 METROS, which in 2020, joined our range of unique wines, along with LAN D-12 and LAN Xtrème.
In the words of our winemaker, María Barúa, the essence of LAN 7 METROS is a “wine born from our research into how wines were made in Spain many centuries ago. Wooden barrels have been used to store and transport wines since the earliest times.”
A little bit of history
During their conquest of Gaul in the first century AC, the Romans noticed that the locals used oak barrels to store beer. They decided to copy this technique, using it to transport the wine that they sent to Rome, which, until then, had been moved in amphorae made of clay, a fragile material that didn’t survive long journeys on the roads, bearing in mind that by then they had been laid with stones. Back in that era, the Romans used the oak that they found in forests near to the place where the wine was made. In the case of Hispania, the wood at their nearest disposal was Spanish oak.
A few centuries later, these oak trees were used to construct boats, railway sleepers, tunnels and tracks for mining, as well as being grown in hillside forestry plantations.
Nowadays, the oak from Quercus pyrenaica used for winemaking is very scarce, as forestry is no longer a major industry in Spain. Only specimens that reach a suitable size (at least seven metres of trunk clear of branches and knots) can be used to make wine barrels for ageing wine. In the case of the first vintage of LAN 7 METROS, the selected oak trees were found in the provinces of León and Burgos.