Clove12 May 2020
Oak aromas in wines – The series of oak aromas in wines highlights the odorous molecules that oak gives to wines during ageing.
Oak, by its natural properties, will bring a large number of compounds to wines. Before its aging, the wine already has aromas linked to its grape variety, its terroir but also to the vinification method that allowed its creation. The aromatic compounds of the oak will then enrich the aromatic bouquet of the wine. The oenologist, the winemaker or the cellar master will choose, in collaboration with their cooper, the barrels best suited to their wines.
The aromatic “clove” note in wines aged in oak barrels is due to the presence of volatile phenols: eugenol and isoeugenol. These compounds are formed by degradation of lignin, the structural polymer of wood, during the maturation of the stave and also during the toasting stage in cooperage. They will be found in medium and medium+ toasting levels.
These molecules have a significant impact on the organoleptic profile of wines aged in oak wood, like vanillin and whiskey lactones. That is to say that at the end of the aging, these molecules will be present in sufficient quantity in the wines to be perceived by the nose. They will therefore contribute to the complexity of the aromatic profile of the wines.
The “clove” aroma will reinforce the spicy character of certain red grape varieties such as Syrah for example.