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What Wines Are Aged in Oak Barrels?

The majority of robust red wine is aged in oak barrels. Red wines have a natural affinity with oak, as it adds a variety of elements to the wine. Some naturally heavier red wine, like Cabernet Sauvignon

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The majority of robust red wine is aged in oak barrels.

Red wines have a natural affinity with oak, as it adds a variety of elements to the wine.

Some naturally heavier red wine, like Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, does especially well in oak barrels.

This is because these oaked red wines extract more tannin from these oak barrels, which helps them age and develop better. Additionally, any extended oak-aging will soften the young tannins that these heavier varieties may have.

Oaked red wines can spend anything from a few months to several years in oak barrels. While less time adds intense oak aromas and tannin; several years will soften the wine and add elegance.

For lighter red wine, the oak adds significantly to the structure of the wine. While these wines are generally fruit-focused, the aging in oak barrels adds the necessary tannin-structure that allows the wine to develop with time. These lighter-bodied red wines include wines such as Pinot Noir, Gamay Noir, Beaujolais, and Cinsault.

 

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When it comes to white wines, the addition of the oak aging serves a similar purpose. In most cases, oaked white wines are generally in the form of a Chardonnay, Semillon, Viognier, and Pouilly Fumé wines. The addition of the oak adds structure, complexity, and ageability.

 

So, in order to retain primary fruit aromas and flavors, winemakers should steer away from oak-ageing or simply reduce time in these oak barrels.
Additionally, if winemakers seek to maintain the crispness of a white wine, oak-ageing should be avoided at all costs.

 

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