We're always seeing oak-aged this, oak aged that...what's the big deal with oak? Well believe it or not, oak actually plays an important role when it comes to aging wine.
Thanks to its porous nature, oak helps soften some of the rough edges in a wine. The tiny amounts of oxygen that make their way into the barrel are enough to take the bite out of tannins without oxidizing the wine to total ruin. Good old oak also helps concentrate wine's flavors as the same porousness that lets oxygen in, lets wine out. Turns out a bit of evaporation, aka the angel's share, is a good thing.
It doesn't stop there either. Are you a fan of coconut, dill, baking spice, or vanilla notes in your wine? That's all thanks to oak.
The downside? Oak don't come cheap and oak aged wines will leave your wallet lighter. Guess you can't have it all.
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