Barrel Ageing vs. Oak Chips

Barrel Ageing vs. Oak Chips

Post by Bryan Fazek » Fri, 18 Apr 1997 04:00:00





Quote:
>One factor I have wondered about is the effect of evaporation and the resulting
>concentration of the wine when aged in a barrel.  It seems that the evaporation
>of all that water and its replacement by wine over a year or two would greatly
>improve the body and flavor of the wine.  So, are we really missing something
>by using oak chips in glass carboys?

That is exactly the opinion expressed by several professional wine
makers and a few amateurs of my acquaintance.  I don't use barrels so
I can't provide any first hand experience, but this was a hot topic of
discussion.

I had an idea I've yet to try.  French oak barrels are hideously
expensive, so my idea was to get an old American oak barrel.  This
would provide basically no oak character, but would produce the
concentrating effects.  Then add oak chips of the desired type, so
that they would provide the oak character.  It would also be possible
to extend the barrel aging by limiting the amount of chips added -
I've had enough over oaked chardonnays to worry about too much oak.  

Anyone have any ideas as to how this would work?

Bryan

"Thought is a beneficial process for human beings,
Excellence.  You should try it yourself on occasion."
  --Alexander Antonescu in "At Any Price", David Drake

 
 
 

Barrel Ageing vs. Oak Chips

Post by Pete Stauff » Fri, 18 Apr 1997 04:00:00


One factor I have wondered about is the effect of evaporation and the resulting
concentration of the wine when aged in a barrel.  It seems that the evaporation
of all that water and its replacement by wine over a year or two would greatly
improve the body and flavor of the wine.  So, are we really missing something
by using oak chips in glass carboys?

Regards,
Pete

 
 
 

Barrel Ageing vs. Oak Chips

Post by Dan Razze » Fri, 18 Apr 1997 04:00:00



Quote:

> I had an idea I've yet to try.  French oak barrels are hideously
> expensive, so my idea was to get an old American oak barrel.  This
> would provide basically no oak character, but would produce the
> concentrating effects.  Then add oak chips of the desired type, so
> that they would provide the oak character.  It would also be possible
> to extend the barrel aging by limiting the amount of chips added -
> I've had enough over oaked chardonnays to worry about too much oak.  

> Anyone have any ideas as to how this would work?

Some commercial winemakers extend the useful life of a barrel by
inserting an "inner stave."  Chips have a similar effect.

--

    . o o .     Laboratory for Computational Intelligence
    . >v< .     University of British Columbia
_____mm.mm_____ http://www.cs.ubc.ca/nest/lci

 
 
 

Barrel Ageing vs. Oak Chips

Post by Jack L. Berr » Sat, 19 Apr 1997 04:00:00


It seems that if reduction resulting from "breathing" oak barrels is
beneficial, it would be more efficient to use vacuum extraction to remove
the lighter components. The lightest go first, especially ***. Does
anyone know if barrel aged wines are lower in ***? Seem they would have
to be.

Jack

 
 
 

Barrel Ageing vs. Oak Chips

Post by Dan Razze » Sat, 19 Apr 1997 04:00:00




Quote:
> It seems that if reduction resulting from "breathing" oak barrels is
> beneficial, it would be more efficient to use vacuum extraction to remove
> the lighter components. The lightest go first, especially ***. Does
> anyone know if barrel aged wines are lower in ***? Seem they would have
> to be.

Oak is said to transpire water and ethanol at almost exactly the same rate.
Therefore the *** concentration of wine in barrel remains constant even
as the wine slowly becomes more concentrated.  It's not a dramatic effect
but is worth knowing about.

Apart from contributing flavors due to vanillin, tannin, and wood sugars,
oak accumulates a negative charge, which combined with a short settling
distance helps the clearing process.

--

    . o o .     Laboratory for Computational Intelligence
    . >v< .     University of British Columbia
_____mm.mm_____ http://www.FoundCollection.com/

 
 
 

Barrel Ageing vs. Oak Chips

Post by Warren Vidrin » Sat, 19 Apr 1997 04:00:00


Quote:



> >One factor I have wondered about is the effect of evaporation and the resulting
> >concentration of the wine when aged in a barrel.  It seems that the evaporation
> >of all that water and its replacement by wine over a year or two would greatly
> >improve the body and flavor of the wine.  So, are we really missing something
> >by using oak chips in glass carboys?

> That is exactly the opinion expressed by several professional wine
> makers and a few amateurs of my acquaintance.  I don't use barrels so
> I can't provide any first hand experience, but this was a hot topic of
> discussion.

> I had an idea I've yet to try.  French oak barrels are hideously
> expensive, so my idea was to get an old American oak barrel.  This
> would provide basically no oak character, but would produce the
> concentrating effects.  Then add oak chips of the desired type, so
> that they would provide the oak character.  It would also be possible
> to extend the barrel aging by limiting the amount of chips added -
> I've had enough over oaked chardonnays to worry about too much oak.

> Anyone have any ideas as to how this would work?

> Bryan

> "Thought is a beneficial process for human beings,
> Excellence.  You should try it yourself on occasion."
>   --Alexander Antonescu in "At Any Price", David Drake

One of the major things that happens in a barrel is oxidative aging.  Barrels allow
oxygen to seep in so slowly that it ages wine oxidatively without setting off
acetobacter or other nasties.  An old barrel would allow that while adding little oak
flavor.  Be sure that you get a sound, sweet barrel.  If the barrel has ever been
allowed to sour, your experiment may go in a direction you don't expect.
--
Warren Vidrine, Vidrine Consulting
tel 1-714-489-8372, FAX 1-714-489-8379

http://www.vidrine.com/vidrine/