When we speak of oak, it always seems that there is unanimity that the French oak is better than the American oak. It is said that one can see it in the wines which aged in those barrels. The wood also leaves its mark on the precious perfumed wines, much more in the French ones than when it was a barrel from US.
This was demonstrated by Matías Calleja, a winemaker from Beronia in London who, during a lecture a few months ago, explained that the main difference between the two origins lays in the aroma and tannins. The first is noted in the case of French oak, while the second is the main quality of the American oak.
When tasting, although it was the wine from French oak barrels which received most votes, the difference between the two notations was not too explicit.
The secret is in the mix
The knowledge of oak which in bodegas is very important. It helps combine successfully the essence that aromatizes the wine: more spice in the case of French oak and toast, with hints of coconut and chocolate, in the case of American. At that one must add the vanilla aromas each particular wine can develop.
There are other options: Some wineries use Central European oak, or Caucasian, who come from countries like Hungary, Slovenia, Russia, Romania, Bosnia and Poland. Those are woods which are said to have a high potential of aging, not as tannic and much cheaper.
Other wineries opt for the Spanish oak, although It has good quality, there are few companies that exploit it, and hence the difficulty of getting to great wineries.
Finally, there are also wineries which are beginning to bet for other woods like acacia or beech, especially for white wines age in which we seek the expression of the grape tannins above.
What type of barrel your favorite wines are aged in? What shades provided do you most like?
Today we recommend 2 great (and well- aged) wines:
Faustino I Tinto Gran Reserva 2001
El Coto Crianza 2009