Over Oakes Zin

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Last year, I left my 100% Zin too long in a new 10 gallon medium toasted oak barrel. Are there any steps I can take to reduce the oak flavor? Will aging in the bottle ultimately reduce the level of oak or am I simply stuck with 4 cases of vanilla Zin?

many thanks
 

CDrew

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I kind of went through this with 15 gallons of 2018 Primitivo, which is the same, basically, as Zinfandel. Added the 100% new oak recommendation of StaVin cubes. At 6 months, it was campfire like and undrinkable, at a year, it was a bit better, at 2 years, better still. At 2 1/2 years it is drinkable. It still has too much oak flavor for me but it's OK. It isn't a wine I give away, but I do pull it out from time to time. It's better if you open an hour before you drink it, and better still if poured through an aerator.

So that's my advice. Give it a couple of years, use an aerator and make the best of it. The oak flavor came down roughly 80% from where I started, and it taught me a super valuable lesson, so I'm good with it. I think I still have 5 cases of it so it will be around awhile!
 

Johnd

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Last year, I left my 100% Zin too long in a new 10 gallon medium toasted oak barrel. Are there any steps I can take to reduce the oak flavor? Will aging in the bottle ultimately reduce the level of oak or am I simply stuck with 4 cases of vanilla Zin?

many thanks
Bottle time will certainly cause the oak to fall back. Whether or not it will end up to your liking is another matter. You can always blend it with a different zin that hasn’t been oaked, or include it in a blend with some other varietal(s).
 
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I kind of went through this with 15 gallons of 2018 Primitivo, which is the same, basically, as Zinfandel. Added the 100% new oak recommendation of StaVin cubes. At 6 months, it was campfire like and undrinkable, at a year, it was a bit better, at 2 years, better still. At 2 1/2 years it is drinkable. It still has too much oak flavor for me but it's OK. It isn't a wine I give away, but I do pull it out from time to time. It's better if you open an hour before you drink it, and better still if poured through an aerator.

So that's my advice. Give it a couple of years, use an aerator and make the best of it. The oak flavor came down roughly 80% from where I started, and it taught me a super valuable lesson, so I'm good with it. I think I still have 5 cases of it so it will be around awhile!
So, what I’m hearing is patience. Not necessarily my strong suit but I figured that would likely be the best coarse. Many thanks and, like you, life lesson has been learned.
 

mainshipfred

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I have a 20 Zin that is still in carboys. The last Zin I made I feel was over oaked and I feel it lost a lot of it's fruitiness. I have some barrel management to do to get the 20 in two 30 liter neutral barrels but I really don't have any wines I feel are ready to go back to glass. Not to mention I have a 20 PS that has yet to see a barrel but that won't be neutral.
 
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Bottle time will certainly cause the oak to fall back. Whether or not it will end up to your liking is another matter. You can always blend it with a different zin that hasn’t been oaked, or include it in a blend with some other varietal(s).
Was thinking along those lines but wanted to see if there was any other actions I could take. Appreciate the input.
 

StFrancis

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Have never done this, but FWIW, I've read about egg white fining. Might want to test a gallon. Whip 1 egg white w/a little of the wine and gently pour in jug. Let it settle and taste.
 

winemaker81

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Was thinking along those lines but wanted to see if there was any other actions I could take. Appreciate the input.
It depends on how over-oaked the wine is. My b-in-made a Chardonnay that at 5 years still tasted a lot like the bar at which we were sitting. Time did not fix it -- the question is how over-oaked is yours? It is merely unpleasant, or is it not drinkable?

I'd put in in carboys and let it set for 6 to 12 months, to see what happens. You probably want to bulk age anyway, so this is not an extra effort.

There are two directions for blending, one is adding unoaked wine to the Zinfandel to reduce the oak character.

The other is blending the Zinfandel into other wines to improve their oak character. This also helps if you have neutral barrels, you get the oak flavoring the barrel cannot provide.

Have never done this, but FWIW, I've read about egg white fining. Might want to test a gallon. Whip 1 egg white w/a little of the wine and gently pour in jug. Let it settle and taste.
Egg white strips tannins, not sure if it will affect an overly strong oak flavor. However, this is an interesting idea -- try it on a 1 gallon jug to see what happens. I don't foresee a downside to the experiment.
 

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