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Over-oaked Wine?

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Vinn

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I made a batch of Cabernet Sauvignon from a Vintner's Reserve winemaking kit. I've used this kit many times and we generally enjoy it. I've used other kits for other reds, like Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Zinfandel. I've even used Concord grape juice. Over time, I guess my taste for wine has developed, and I've come to the opinion that the wine from kits often tastes a little tart, or young.

I've got a 3-liter oak barrel that I've used a few times for aging bourbon. Works wonders blending and smoothing whisky for old fashioneds. About a month ago, I bottled my most recent batch of Cab, but put the last few liters of finished wine into the barrel. My hope is that it will age the wine so it doesn't taste so young.

I sampled a bit of it a few days ago. Very oak-ey. Very very oak-ey. The wood taste is as subtle as a hammer. Is this usual early in the barrel-aging process? Will the oak flavor mellow out over the coming months, or should I get it out of the barrel before it becomes undrinkable?

Thanks!
 

NorCal

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The rule of thumb is to leave wine in a barrel 1 week for every gallon the barrel holds. So that would be 5 1/2 days for your little barrel. Honestly, I'm not sure the rule applies to that small a format barrel and how much oak is left, but it would need a very short amount of time. The oak will fade, but not go away. You can always blend with something else to reduce the oakiness.
 

Vinn

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Thanks for the response, NorCal. I've blended it with some Concord, and that definitely helped. Thanks for confirming my experience. I'll get it out of the barrel as soon as I can.

Thanks again!
 

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