I love red wine that has been oaked. Many times you’ll hear people say ‘I don’t like oaky wine’. I am not a huge fan of what I call ‘manipulated oaky wine’. Unfortunately, some lesser priced wines can taste oaky, even though they have never seen the inside of an oak barrel. Some mass produced wines use oak chips or oak staves inside of tanks to give it an ‘oaky flavor’. This is why you’ll hear me say I’m not a fan of overly oaked wine, but I love wine that has been aged properly in oak. 50 of the world’s most expensive wines are oak aged in some way.
Old world winemakers have been using oak for hundreds of years and have it down to a science. There are 3 types of oak used for wine, and each imparts a different flavor and nuance. There is French oak, American oak and Hungarian oak (also called European oak). Most of the wines available to us here use mostly French oak or American oak. I have, however, had Hungarian oak.
This Mas Buscados Tempranillo, Syrah & Petite Verdot blend from Spain, which we used to be able to buy here, was aged in Hungarian Oak. The tannins were soft and the fruit of the wine highlighted. This was such a great wine at a great price, it’s too bad we can’t get here in Nova Scotia anymore.
The interesting part about oak is that the more an oak barrel is used, the more subtle the flavors it imparts. If you are into reading the back of the wine bottle, like I am, you’ll see sometimes they use ‘new and used’ oak. The newer a barrel, the more oak flavor it imparts.
MacMurray Wines used this technique a lot with their fantastic Pinot Noir wines. Run by Kate MacMurray, she is the daughter of Hollywood actors Fred MacMurray and June Havers.
American Oak imparts a lot of flavor, more so than French oak. Wine experts often describe the American Oak flavors as vanilla. You’ll often see the word ‘vanilla’ flavors mentioned on the back of a wine bottle, and that flavor comes from the oak. One thing is for sure, it adds ruggedness to clean, fruit-forward new world wines. An American oak barrel costs between $350 – $650 and a French oak barrel costs between $650 – $3600, depending on quality. Wow.
Let’s talk some new wines. This is so good, I’m going to call this my wine of the week.
From Central Chile, this beauty is called the perfect blend of wine and art on its label. Quatro means 4, which a perfect blend of 4 grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Shiraz, and Malbec. My friends Angie and Pat shared this wine with me, and they both loved it. So, there you have it, 3 opinions, all loving this wine. And it’s priced at $21, which is a great value for this wine.
Quick update for my readers and friends I have enjoyed a two week break from treatments, but that is coming to an end. On Monday, I have a CT scan, and on Wednesday another scope, which will determine how the first 5 weeks of Radiation and Chemo did to that tumor. Then the next round of treatments will be determined. Feeling great though.
I hope you have a great weekend.