In general, the less a barrel is toasted, the more tannins and other wood characteristics will be leached into the wine by the alcohol. Wine matured in lightly toasted barrels therefore tends to taste 'oaky,' 'woody' or even 'vegetal,' while wine matured in heavily toasted barrels is more likely to taste 'toasty' or 'spicy.' Barrels that are classified as Heavy Toast have been toasted for about 15 minutes at 440 degrees. -- The Oxford Companion to Wine
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