Few have actually spent time gnawing on a piece of oak, but some know the scent well enough, having perused the selections at their local lumber yard. Some may have even tried their hand at drilling, cutting or planing in the service of one or another project. Many more know the flavor of oak, even if they never identify it as such, thanks to the popularity of whisky, rye, and bourbon, all of which usually taste of planks cut from American forests. The oak we find in wine, on the other hand, more often hails from France (though wine barrels are manufactured from forests all over Europe). The interaction between wine and the wooden vessels used to make and age it is one of the few things in the world that approaches alchemy. Oak smooths, sweetens, spices, and polishes wines in ways that range from imperceptible to completely ostentatious. In some wines, oak announces its presence with more texture than flavor, while in others it screams like a cross-cut saw in mid-bite. Opinions differ on whether the flavor of oak is best when strong or subtle, but none can deny that wine as we know it could never have come to be without wood.
Girard "Artistry" Proprietary Red, Napa Valley, California, USA
Sea Smoke "One Barrel" Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara County, California, USA
Samuels Gorge Grenache McLaren Vale, South Australia
Alois Kracher "Nummer 5 Nouvell Vague" Traminer Trockenbeerenauslese, Burgenland, Austria
Opus One Bordeaux Blend, Oakville, Napa, California, USA
Takler "Regnum" Red Blend, Szekszard, Hungary
Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair "Les Saint-Georges" Nuits-Saint-George Premier Cru, Burgundy, France
Cantine Russo "Rampante" Red Blend, Etna, Sicily, Italy
Covenant "Lavan" Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California, USA
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
Vinography Images: Swift Work Social Media Answers the Question: Where Did Australian Wine Go Wrong Hourglass, Napa Valley: Current and Upcoming Releases Drought Problems? Just Have an Earthquake Vinography Images: Just One Vinography Unboxed: Week of September 1, 2014 Earthquake Rattles Napa Harvest NIMBY Versus Vineyard in Malibu Vinography Images: Precious Droplets MORIC: The Apogee of Blaufränkisch
Masuizumi Junmai Daiginjo, Toyama Prefecture Wine.Com Gives Retailers (and Consumers) the Finger 1961 Hospices de Beaune Emile Chandesais, Burgundy Wine Over Time The Better Half of My Palate 1999 KirÃ¡lyudvar "Lapis" Tokaji Furmint, Hungary What's Allowed in Your Wine and Winemaking Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Appreciating Wine in Context The Soul vs. The Market 1989 Fiorano Botte 48 Semillion,Italy