Basque Cask

November 15, 2006 By: erik Category: House, Photos, Wine 877 views

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Several times we have seen wine casks in stores and thought, “Man, that would look cool in our dining room!” But we’ve never bought one, because knew that Grandpa Ramón had one in his attic that he would give us. Well, last weekend, we finally got it from him.

The truth is that the barrel is probably not Basque, but we picked it up from the Basque country, and I couldn’t resist the rhyming title.1

I’m pretty sure that Grandpa Ramón made his living as a carpenter, making furniture. And I think he told me that he made the stand that it sits on. Either that, or he made another one that he could give us if we didn’t like this one (I was sick this weekend and he was speaking a foreign language).

You have to admit that it looks pretty cool there nestled in with the golfing trophies, whiskey bottles, and Pamplona San Fermin bandannas.


The wine goes in the top and comes out the bottom. Gravity works like that.


It has this cool little drip guard.


Un vino tinto, por favor.

The cask supposedly holds 10 liters (13.33 bottles), but we bought two boxes of 5 liters each, and I’m guessing there’s still a liter left in the second box after filling the cask completely. I bought the only type of red wine sold at the local wine merchant by quantities bigger than a bottle. All 10 liters cost me 12 € ($15.36), which comes out to $1.15/bottle. It’s not great wine, but it’s potable and good enough for day-to-day meal accompaniment. Although I think we’ll look for another to one to fill it next time. In theory, being in the barrel should improve the quality of the wine, though. Time will tell.


1Warning: Gratuitous rhyming to follow!

If you must ask, I shall not mask nor bask in the task of filling your flask or my Basque cask.

Did I miss any?

  • We found this stuff in Spain in ’99 that was only £3 for a 5 litre plastic bottle. I understand that the EU now pays for wine of that quality to be turned into fuel. All I can say is the stuff we found couldn’t have had far to go.

    I’m hoping that yours is better. Does it keep well? Does the old cask flavour the wine in any way?

  • Your comment reminded me of the Batalla del Vino in the Rioja region. This stuff is not that bad. I’ve had worse at restaurants.

    Does it keep well? Does the old cask flavour the wine in any way?

    The answer to both questions is, “I think so, but time will tell.”

  • Betsy

    The transfer of wine
    From Basque cask to flask
    A delicate task.

  • Very nice.

    But you need two more syllables in your second line to achieve Haiku status, I’m afraid.

  • Betsy

    Okay, how about this:

    The transfer of wine
    From the Basque cask to a flask
    A delicate task.

  • You’ve added syllables, but taken away from the poetry.

    The transfer of wine
    From Basque cask to silver flask
    A delicate task

  • Betsy

    Excellent! I couldn’t actually remember the specs for Haiku as I learned about it in the 3rd grade. I googled it but got a most confusing page and gave up.