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Experimenting with oak

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JohnW

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With the few kits I have made I've never been satisfied with the oak flavors. Instead of adding complexity, the oak flavor, for lack of better words, seems very one dimensional. Maybe it will improve or mellow over time but patience is not one of my strengths. For my next kit, RJ Spagnols Cru International Sangiovese with skins, I'm thinking about experimenting with a couple of types of oak (French and Hungarian?) and toasts. Has anybody tried this? If so I'd love to know how it turned out.

For reference, I recently made Master Vintner Cab Sav five months ago but added only 1/2 the oak pack. I also made a RJS Grand Cru Pinot Noir but instead of adding the provided pack I used one French spiral which came out much more to my liking. Maybe I'm asking too much from a kit wine but neither have a lot of complexity and the Cab Sav oak flavor is still very bold
 

NorCal

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The use of oak is definitely the artistic component in winemaking. It is also a matter of preference. I’ve had wine I hated because I over oaked it, that my wine making buddy loved. Doing trials with different oaks and different amount of oak is an excellent idea to hone in your wine making preferences.
 

JohnW

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I did some reading on Sangiovese and the recommendation is to go lightly with French oak. I haven't received the kit yet so I have no idea how much or what type of oak it includes. Apparently Sangiovese often gets aged in neutral oak barrels so that minimal oak flavor is imparted. If necessary I can always add more oak later.
 

jumby

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I add oak spirals to all of my red wine. I usually add 1-2, medium plus toast, French Oak spirals when bulk aging.
 
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Ajmassa

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Little tip I learned from here is to tie me off to fishing line— keeps me suspended at whatever height you choose. And makes for simple removal.
 

BernardSmith

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Does it ever make sense to add a little oak to the primary or will the oak of necessity likely be in too prolonged contact with the wine?
 

jumby

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Does it ever make sense to add a little oak to the primary or will the oak of necessity likely be in too prolonged contact with the wine?
I'm not quite sure what you are asking?Oak powder is usually added to the primary to increase tannins.
 

Ajmassa

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In particular, these "sacrificial tannins" are added in primary to preserve the anthocyanins in the must; this addition thereby augments the color retention.
https://www.thebeveragepeople.com/pdf/webwinepdf/Tannins.pdf
Color seems to be the most proven benefit from oak/tannin in primary.
And just wanna mention there’s a few other aspects as well- namely removing vegetal characteristics from the wine, can beef up the wines body, improve the “mouthfeel”, and round out the “structure”— (kinda loaded terms unless your a damn sommelier IMO) but much less definitive data than the color benefits.
 

Hordak

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I'm with Jumby, the French oak spirals are the way to go for your better wines you want to make. I suspend them with unwaxed/flavored floss and get a perfect seal with my airlock bung.
 

JohnW

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I'm with Jumby, the French oak spirals are the way to go for your better wines you want to make. I suspend them with unwaxed/flavored floss and get a perfect seal with my airlock bung.
That is exactly what I did with my last batch of red wine and it did come out much better than just dumping in a bunch of oak chips.
 

Flextank

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use the dosage of 60 gallons per Stave. Average contact time is eight months,

This product is put up specifically for 300 gallon Flextanks (plastic tank) in a five pack or one stave per 60 gallons. Others are available as well.

If you want a shorter contact time, choose 490 g per 100 gal. segments.

This product has a 3-6 month contact time.
 
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