So Why *IS* Wine Aged In Oak Anyway? | Laurita Winery So Why *IS* Wine Aged In Oak Anyway? – Laurita Winery
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So Why *IS* Wine Aged In Oak Anyway?

So Why *IS* Wine Aged In Oak Anyway?

blog , Laurita Winery 🕔January 20, 2019 0 comments

One of the quintessential symbols of wine is the oaken barrel. Wine calls to mind the image of barrels nestled together in a cellar or cave, just waiting for the perfect moment.

Via VinePair:

We have romanticized the barrel and the act of aging wine inside of it to such a degree, that after the barrels have been used for their intended purpose we often turn them into tables, benches, planters and even candle holders.

But did you know…? There was no vino-genius who suggested, “Hey! Let’s build some wooden buckets to store all this stuff!” Instead, clay amphora was the preferred storage vessel.

The ancient Egyptians came up with what were basically clay pots that could be carried over long distances. Later, the Romans spread the use of amphora along with their empire. But as that empire pushed north into Europe, the clay vessels became impractical.

When the Romans encountered the Gauls, they found a group of people who were using wooden barrels, often made of oak, to transport beer.

Aha!

The Romans quickly realized they had found a solution to their amphora issue…

The transition to wooden barrels was swift. In less than two centuries, tens of millions of amphorae were discarded.

And then something magical happened.

The Romans began to notice that their wine was different. It softened and became smoother from contact with the wood. It also changed the taste.

Due to the minimal toasting of the wood, wines developed additional scents such as cloves, cinnamon, allspice or vanilla, and when drunk they had additional flavors present, such as caramel, vanilla or even butter.

Eventually people began to realize that the more prolonged the contact, the more the flavor profile of the wine was impacted by the oak – in a good way! And the process of oak barrel aging, which began by happy accident, remains popular today.

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