Southern Belle is a unique and revolutionary wine. It was the first wine to use aged bourbon barrels in the vinification protocol.
This technique was at first experimental but after years of trials, the results were so spectacular that they became the cornerstone of this wine and others that we made later in what I now call The Southern Gothic Wine Collection. The idea to use the bourbon barrels came over a dinner with my buddy Julian Van Winkle at a Southern Foodways Alliance meeting at Blackberry Farm in 2001. It was simply an idea that came up in conversation. Hey, let’s do something together. What about putting wine in used Pappy barrels? Okay, I’ll send you some. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen old, used bourbon barrels, but they’re ugly. When the winemakers first saw the barrels, they flat out refused to put wine anywhere near them. But, eventually they did. In Australia we made the wine out of old vine, concentrated Shiraz. Today I make the wine in southern Spain and it’s a blend of Syrah and Monestrell. Originally I conceived Southern Belle as a triptych of three different labels, all designed by the sublimely talented fine artist James Jean, but today in Spain, I’ve decided to use only one.