Major Wine Components: Oak

#5 in a series by Peter di Lorenzi

Barrel aging of wines has been practiced for centuries, since the abandonment of the amphorae of ancient times.  In modern times oak barrels have been chosen carefully for attributes far beyond the basic original purpose of storing wine in sturdy, difficult-to-break vessels.

Today the barrels’ size, oak-species, and degree of prior use or wine ‘virginity’ are weighed in the wine-maker’s decision in what, if any, type of barrel to choose for his wine.  The resulting decision will significantly affect the flavor and aging potential of the wine.

We also now have the use of oak chips to give lower priced wines some of the flavor attributes of traditionally barrel-aged wines.


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