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Oak aromas in wines

Smoky note

5 August 2021

Aromas of Oak in Wines – The Aromas of Wood in Wines serie highlights the olfactive molecules that oak gives to wines during aging.


Before being bottled, some wines are aged in barrels. This aging modifies their structure thanks to exchanges between wood and wine. Different aromas develop and vary depending on the origin of the wood, the drying time, the heating …

Among these characteristic smells of barrel aging, we can find the smell of smoke.

It corresponds to the smell given off by certain woods and certain resins when they are consumed. This odor is made up of numerous phenols (Guaiacol and 5-methylgaiacol) resulting from the increase in the intensity of the toasting of the barrels, which play an essential role in the perception of this smell. Too strong, the smoky note can be a fault but well dosed it gives the wine a beautiful aromatic complexity.

This empyreumatic * aroma, reminiscent of the smells of fireplaces after a good wood fire. In tasting, it is found on white and red grape varieties, such as Sauvignon Blanc (in particular in the Pouilly-Fumé appellation) or the great Spanish Riojas and Graves from Bordeaux.

* This word characterizes a large family of burnt aromas such as tobacco, smoke, roasting, caramel, toast, pepper … Empyreumatic aromas are generally obtained during the aging of wine in barrels.


Visual: © DR

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