- Feb 1, 2019
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I am just about to start bulk aging my Malbec kit. What is the best type of oak to use for malbecs?
I’d suggest to be careful with doubling up the American spirals. Can overoak a batch easily. Learned that the hard way.I like to use oak spirals. 2 pieces in a carboy for about 6 weeks. I like to use medium or medium+ toast, and either American or French wood.
How long would you recommend leave toasted french oak chips in malbec?I’d suggest to be careful with doubling up the American spirals. Can overoak a batch easily. Learned that the hard way.
When I use spirals I just leave em in for a full 3 months - checking periodically. Tied to a fishing line and suspended in the middle of the wine.
I do love the French oak tho. Takes longer but find it to be more subtle. Easier to get that complimentary oak. Only big wines can handle the ‘murrican for my taste buds.
I think since the Mrs isn’t big on oak I’ve been extra careful now to really hone in on just the right touch without taking over the wine
Thanks for the info. I think I'm not giving my oak enough time, a month. Will have to change that.*edit- just realized I basically repeated my last post here from October. In any case, hopefully you found it helpful.
I’m no oak expert by any means but have screwed up enough to learn from my mistakes and correct myself. I always found it a hassle determining the right amount of chips/cubes to use, unlike stix or spirals. I do know the French seems to take a bit longer to take. And the toast level matters too. The French med-long or plus (the higher end of medium, like upper-middle class lol) is what I’ve used most. But really I don’t worry about over oaking unless it’s Am heavy or med. (Have yet to use French heavy). Otherwise I just leave em in a full ~3 month racking period- periodically checking throughout. Malbec is a heavy wine and can take a hearty punch of oak before it’s too much, tho we all have varying preferences and techniques.
Basically my goal with oak is to avoid having the oak take over the base of the whole profile and really just want to accentuate the characteristics already in the wine. As novices I think it’s easier for us to do this with less harsh oaks. French & some Hungarian and probably am. light tst. Sounds weird at first I know. But hitting that sweetspot with your French oak you’ll notice all kinds of tastes and aromas shining thru aside from just an oak taste. My wife doesn’t like when she can “taste the wood” and will bitch seeing oak spirals delivered to the house. But later after tasting samples she will unknowingly choose the oaked sample. Goal= reached! lol
And FWIW I actually did overdo the oak to some Malbec in a new Hungarian barrel before - But a few months later it calmed down a lot and was right on the money.