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The Official Wine Thread - Page 876

post #13126 of 17526
Quote:
Originally Posted by tattersall View Post

Salvard's white (85/15 sauvignon blanc/chardonnay) is worth seeking out too for a crisp and mineral white that is very reasonably priced.
+1
post #13127 of 17526
Question: Wines that have a very pronounced "oaky" flavor does this mean they were held in oak barrels longer, or does new vs old oak, or French vs American oak play a part as well? I would think new oak would deposit much more oakiness than old. Also, does wine age in oak the same way it would in a bottle if the conditions are correct?
post #13128 of 17526
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post

Question: Wines that have a very pronounced "oaky" flavor does this mean they were held in oak barrels longer, or does new vs old oak, or French vs American oak play a part as well? I would think new oak would deposit much more oakiness than old. Also, does wine age in oak the same way it would in a bottle if the conditions are correct?

The biggest factor in a perceived "oaky" taste is a high percentage of new oak. If you use 70% new French barrels, its still going to taste like a board for a couple of years. Oak barrels become neutral by (roughly) the third or fourth fill, after which they don't really contribute oak flavor or tannin to a wine.

I'm not really sure what the relationship between the amount of time a wine was held in new barrels and what it gets out of the barrel - I imagine there's a ceiling on what a wine is able to extract, so it probably doesn't matter so much if you keep them in new barrels for 18 months or 24, at least where extraction of oak flavor is concerned, which isn't your main goal anyway.

With regards to American oak vs French - in general terms French has a finer, more subtle taste due to a considerably finer grain, but there's American oak and there's American oak, and American coopers are getting better sources of wood, so some American oak barrels are much less brash than others. Also, American oak generally introduces more vanilla and spice flavors. Europeans, especially the Spanish, still buy plenty of American oak for barrels. It depends on what you're going for. French oak isn't universally "better."

Barrel aging is different than bottle aging and its dependent on the size of barrel as well. Barrels are porous and allow evaporation and oxygen access to the wine. The standard ~225 liter/60 gallon barrel has a lot more relative surface area than a 500 liter puncheon, so thats a factor. When wines are in barrel you have to top them up about once a month for several months. Bottle aging is a bear of a topic. I suppose one of the most important factors is that by the time a serious wine is going to bottle for aging, its had a chance to develop in a more oxygen-rich environment (the barrel) and the bottle will be a different set of conditions. One of the big changes that occurs over time in bottle is the lengthening of tannin/polyphenol chains to the point that they fall out of solution (sediment), which softens the wine.
Edited by Quatsch - 6/6/12 at 7:01am
post #13129 of 17526
Thanks for that well thought out answer. Interesting stuff. So if depositing oak into the flavor of the wine isn't the main goal, is it basically this subtle oxidation that they are going for?
post #13130 of 17526
Well adding some oak flavor is a goal - it adds complexity and tannin, which in turn protects the wine against oxidation. Wine's relationship to oxygen can be kind of paradoxical. I suppose, however, some people might consider oak flavor/tannin extraction the primary goal of oak aging. I follow what you might call the 'new old school' though, so I'm not big on new oak. Neutral oak barrels are very important to have around!

I wouldn't say oak "microoxygenation" is the goal either. Its just that you have to store the wine somewhere to give it time to sort itself out. You do things like battonage (stirring up the lees in barrel) to give it body, and flavor and aroma continue to develop as time goes on, in addition to malolactic ferment, depending on how you approach that. Traditionally malolactic fermentation would not finish until the following spring because the ambient temperature would drop too low in the cellar following harvest. Anyhow, it just so happens that our forefathers discovered that a wooden barrel or vat is a pretty good place to allow all these things to happen. Concrete is good too. The possibilities on what you can do to make a good wine are virtually endless.
post #13131 of 17526
Don't forget oak chipping. Cheap way to impart oak into wines not designed to be ageable.
post #13132 of 17526
Interesting. I wonder when we are going to start storing wine in sausage casing.
post #13133 of 17526
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piobaire View Post

Don't forget oak chipping. Cheap way to impart oak into wines not designed to be ageable.

Tidbit: Often untoasted oak chips are added to red wines during fermentation to mask green characters and (I think) help with color stability. But yeah, you can also drop a bag of toasted oak chips or staves into a tank of red wine.
post #13134 of 17526
sometimes I put oak chips directly in my glass to give the wine the extra "oomph" it needs.
post #13135 of 17526
Quote:
Originally Posted by gomestar View Post

sometimes I put oak chips directly in my glass to give the wine the extra "oomph" it needs.

I hear there's a shop in Napa Valley that sells oak goblets, the bowls of which have been toasted, as well as oaken decanters.
post #13136 of 17526
why am I not surprised laugh.gif
post #13137 of 17526
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quatsch View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Piobaire View Post

Don't forget oak chipping. Cheap way to impart oak into wines not designed to be ageable.

Tidbit: Often untoasted oak chips are added to red wines during fermentation to mask green characters and (I think) help with color stability. But yeah, you can also drop a bag of toasted oak chips or staves into a tank of red wine.

Don't they put toasted oak chips into cheap whites being held in stainless steel or cement tanks?
post #13138 of 17526
Possible, but I've not encountered it yet. Probably most common with cheap, large-scale Cali-style Chardonnay.
post #13139 of 17526
No doubt where it was invented. There or Oz would be my guess.
post #13140 of 17526
Do producers generally try to find barrels that have a consistent grain? I would assume that could be pretty difficult.
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