Wine is one of the most popular types of drinks in the world, but you might not realize the big role that wine barrels have in the creation process of this drink. Wine barrels are used for a variety of purposes. Some are necessary in the production of certain wines while with other wines, they may be optional.
Whatever the case, these barrels are very important for giving wine the right profile. But why? What is so special about a wine barrel and what is one supposed to do? More importantly, what are the different types of wine barrels? Keep reading to find out.
French Oak Wine Barrels
French oak wine barrels are one of the most popular options for aging wine. You might be wondering why barrels are necessary in the first place. Wooden barrels can give wine an extra layer of flavor. While there are many delicious wines that are never stored in wooden barrels, there are also many delicious wines that are. The type of wine barrel that is used will determine the flavor of the wine.
French oak wine barrels are so popular because this type of wood only provides a very delicate addition of flavor to whatever wine is stored in this barrel. This is because the grain of the wood is very fine and therefore won’t distribute too much of its flavor to the drink. Due to this subtle nature, this wood is perfect for both white wine and red wine. However, it is especially good for light white wines like Chardonnay.
French oak adds light flavors of spices, dark chocolate, and even coffee.
American Oak Barrels
Another very popular type is American oak. This is an especially popular choice in Missouri and it is often used for spirits as well as wine. The thing about this type of wood is that its grain is very robust. For that reason, it will also provide a more full-bodied flavor to the wine.
This kind of wood barrel is not usually used for white wines because the flavor of the oak would overpower the more delicate flavors of the white wine. Instead, this barrel is better for heavy red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon. The flavors of this type of oak consist of vanilla, dried fruit, and even coconut.
Hungarian / Eastern European Oak
This is the least used out of all the different wine barrel types, although it is still relatively common. The unique thing about it is that it is a sort of intermediary between American oak and French oak. This is because its grain is not too large and not too small.
For that reason, it is very versatile and can be used for all sorts of wines (except, perhaps, the most delicate of white wines) withing having to worry about the wood overpowering the flavor of the wine. The benefit of this particular type of oak is that it is nowhere near as expensive as French oak barrels, and for that reason, Hungarian oak has grown in popularity over the years. Wines like Malbec and Syrah go wonderfully with this kind of oak. But what about the flavor?
This oak adds flavors of cream, nuts, and a dash of vanilla to whatever wine it happens to touch. If you want to get your hands on some high-quality wines, either oaked or unoaked, click here.