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Oak aromas in wines

Oak aromas in wines

4 March 2020

Oak aromas in wines – The series of oak aromas in wines highlights the odorous molecules that oak gives to wines during ageing.


There are three types of aromas in wines: primary, secondary and tertiary. The primary aromas are directly linked to the grape variety and therefore naturally present in the grapes at harvest. These are aromas of fruity, floral, vegetable or spicy types depending on the grape variety. The secondary aromas are linked to the fermentation of wines with aromatic milky, fermentative and amyl notes. Finally, the tertiary aromas are linked to the aging and the evolution of the wines with notes of dried fruit, confectionery, spices and empyreumatics.


After having been a practical container for several hundred years, the barrel has become an essential ally in the production of wine. The main wook essence used is oak, mainly French, but also European and American.


The oak ageing is used in oenology to enhance the wines. Indeed, the aromatic (tertiary aromas) and structuring molecules will bring complexity to the sensory profile of the wine and microoxygenation will stabilize this rich mixture of molecules.


All the technicality of ageing lies in bringing complexity to the wine while respecting the aromatic identity of the grape variety. The aromatic contribution must be subtle and reinforces the identity of the wine. This is all the work that the winemaker and the cooper make when they agree on the choice of barrel.


During this series the aromas linked to aging in oak barrels and the molecule(s) linked to these smells will be addressed: the aromatic notes of vanilla, coconut, pepper, clove, cinnamon, toast, toasted almonds, coffee and smoke.

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