Oak and Wine – A beautiful relationship

Oak and Wine – A beautiful relationship

Traditionally, Oak & Wine Forever Married!

Oak & Wine is like peanut butter & jelly! It is one of the biggest influences on the flavor of the wine. It simply affects the maturity, flavor, and subtle texture. Some people are prejudiced against oaked wine and complain of even the slightest hint of oak, but many experts agree that if a wine has been carefully aged in oak it does not taste of wood, but more like a wine that has had its character improved.

Aging using Oak

Oak aging of wine occurs when the wine has been fermented and/or aged in oak casks so that the flavor of the surrounding wood infuses some of its woodiness into the liquid. The resulting wine will usually taste richer, with creamy vanilla undertones and sometimes a little woody or even sawdusty. The oak is a type of seasoning for wine and getting the optimum level of oaky flavor is vital if a wine is to taste good in the end. Oak aging usually takes place in small oak barrels that hold 225 liters, being replaced every two or three years as newer barrels give the best flavor.

Is Oak Aging the Best?

Oak is considered to be the most ideal wood for this aging as it not only has superb watertight qualities but gives the right sort of flavors, aromas, and textures to enhance the wine. But there are different types of oak that offer certain distinctive flavorings. The most commonly used are the highly-prized, tightly-grained French oak which gives a subtle hint of oakiness, whilst American oak gives a more obvious vanilla character to the wine.

Consequently, wines that are more powerful in flavor tend to be stored in American oak such as Rioja, North and South American, and Australian varieties. Other factors that allow oak aging to affect a wine’s taste are the size of the barrels, (larger ones giving less flavor), the age of the wood used, the actual time the wine spends within the cask, and whether the barrels have been toasted (i.e. lightly burned on the inside).

Continuing Oak Trends

Now the fashion is for lightly oaked wines and winemakers are producing more subtle elegant flavors. Traditionally, red wines are aged in oak to add extra body, richness, and tannins.

Soft light reds such as Beaujolais are typically unoaked, but the richer more powerful styles such as fine red Bordeaux or Californian Cabernet Sauvignon are almost always aged in oak. Similarly, Rioja is oak aged for a long time to give it a distinct mellow creaminess.

Port and Madeira are wood-aged and have an obvious hint of oak, whilst even some Champagnes are aged for a short time in oak barrels, although they never taste very oaky, just a bit more full-bodied. Some premium sweet white wines are also oak aged.

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Finding Wine Deals

Finding Wine Deals

Finding Wine Deals is a skill!

Finding wine deals can leave you feeling discontent and agitated after getting a bad bottle of wine. In fact, there is an air of satisfaction just knowing that you have found true wine values in your purchases.

Wine values involve more than finding the least costly brand on the shelf. One must remember that less money you spend does not assure you the feeling of satisfaction that getting a good, open deal does. If that were the case, people would just buy the cheapest bottles on the shelves. Well, this does not happen.

While for some would argue that there are wine snobs floating around who only like a brand if it costs an exorbitant amount of money. Now, this can be the case for a select few who find their wines by the cost rather than the wine values. Despite the fact that it is more expensive it does not always mean more value. There are certainly more things to consider than the price.

Know the difference between quality & high price

First in order to truly find wine values you have to look at the grand scale. You do not necessarily want the cheapest brand on the market despite the fact that you can find decent quality in the cheapest brand on the shelf. You also do not always find the best quality for the money with a high-priced purchase. Obviously, the balance is getting the most bang for your buck.

If you are faced with questions like; what is the finest quality product available for the most reasonable price? You may pay out a little more than the bottom-shelf brand but you will in fact appreciate the selection because of its superior quality. You will also value the idea of knowing that your snobby neighbor paid nearly twice as much for the same quality varietals found in your economically-sound wine values.

Finding Deals requires taking risks!

Experimenting a little bit is definitely an excellent way to find good wine values. Instead of automatically looking at the commonly more expensive Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon try looking into a Pinot Blanc or a Pinot Noir instead. You will be pleasantly surprised by trying less popular varietals as they can lead to great discoveries.

You may also want to consider wines from different regions as well. Australia and New Zealand boast wonderful wines for fairly little money. Check out a local winery, too. You can truly uncover some treasures locally and you can also choose to buy wines by the case. Often wineries give a discount if you buy in bulk.

In any case, the best wine values are subjective in nature. You may love the simple boxed wine that many would avoid. Your enjoyment is primary in the value of your purchase.

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