Barrel Aging???

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StreetGlide

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I have been told by a few people to make sure I keep wine aging in a barrel a little longer then when I’m satisfied as the oak will wear off some while bulk aging. My question is how much will it settle and how over oaked do I want to go? These new small barrels I have are really adding a lot of oak in a short period.
 

Johnd

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I have been told by a few people to make sure I keep wine aging in a barrel a little longer then when I’m satisfied as the oak will wear off some while bulk aging. My question is how much will it settle and how over oaked do I want to go? These new small barrels I have are really adding a lot of oak in a short period.
What you've heard is true in my experience, the oak flavor does integrate into the wine and mellow a bit with some bottle aging. I'm not sure exactly how the quantify the amount of "over oaking" you should do, just let your personal taste be the guide. If you're tasting the wine regularly, and it gets to the point where you say to yourself "That's exactly what I want the wine to taste like", let it go a little longer, tasting regularly, til you think it's just a bit more than you'd like, then pull it out. It should fall back a bit once it's in bottles and aged for a while. Once you do it a few times, I suspect you'll get the hang of it, but to my knowledge, there's no exact science to it...
 

Boatboy24

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Exactly what John said. If you take if from the barrel too early, you can always add cubes or staves to bring the oak back up. But if you overdo it, it's not as easy to bring it back.
 

mainshipfred

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That's the kick in the butt about new small barrels, they don't allow you to keep the wine in long enough to benefit from micro oxygenation. Do you have other wines you could put in so they don't have to be empty? The second and third go round allows more time in the barrel before over oaking.
 

StreetGlide

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Thank you for the replies. I tasted the Nebbiolo that was in the barrel only about 2 weeks. This was a brand new Am Oak MT barrel. I was pretty amazed at how fast the barrel oaked and even slightly over oak this wine. However after being back in the carboy a very short time I can tell this is going to be a very good finished product. I can already tell with the 2 wines in the barrel now, a CC Showcase OVZ and a RJS EP Trio Red it’s oaking slower. I will remove the OVZ sooner then the blend as to me a Zin is not a huge oak bomb.
 

Boatboy24

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That's the kick in the butt about new small barrels, they don't allow you to keep the wine in long enough to benefit from micro oxygenation. Do you have other wines you could put in so they don't have to be empty? The second and third go round allows more time in the barrel before over oaking.
Good point, Fred. With a new (small) barrel, you should be sure you have 2 or 3 wines ready to go in, as the first one will only be in for 4-6 weeks.
 

crushday

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I have three wines that aged in brand new 6 gallon barrels for six months. They are coming up now on one full year bottled. The oak has sulked into the background now. I’m really pleased with these wines. But, at bottling the oak was too much. So much that I thought the wine was ruined.
 

jsbeckton

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I have three wines that aged in brand new 6 gallon barrels for six months. They are coming up now on one full year bottled. The oak has sulked into the background now. I’m really pleased with these wines. But, at bottling the oak was too much. So much that I thought the wine was ruined.
Wow, my first wine was I for 6 weeks and it was heavy. I can’t imagine what it would be like at 6 months! How long did that take to mellow out?
 

crushday

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@jsbeckton - I would say that it has taken almost a year. The wines sited were bottled in May 2019, and went into the barrels in November 2018. We had one, a SLM this past week. Very good...

I chose the first wines for the new barrels knowing they could take a hard dose of oak: SLM, Negroamaro and Malbec.
 
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