The contribute of wood on winemaking has a long story. Oak wood (Quercus spp.) is present in many species and spread in all over the world. Nowadays, few of these species represent the most suitable kind of wood for wine fermentation and maturation. Wood quality depends on many factors, from the botanic species and the nature of the geographical region to the cooperage practices. All of these determine the character of the barrel, then the profile of the wine aged inside.

The aims of this experiment are:

  • Observe the suitability of a red wine, made from Jaen grape variety, to an ageing in oak wood barrels, in comparison to the same wine matured in stainless steel.
  • Compare the effect of different kinds of wood barrel on red wine quality, during a 6 months ageing. Barrels used were different for toasting level (soft and medium), geographical origin of the woods (America, France, Hungary) and number of uses (2 and 3 years old).

In order to fulfil these purposes, several chemical parameters of the wine have been monthly investigated, focusing on colour and phenolic profile, and a sensory analysis has been carried out in two different moments of the maturation.

Many parameters showed a significant evolution and differences between the wines. In general, barrel ageing can improve the colour and sensory quality of Jaen red wines. 2 wines in particular appeared for their better quality. One, aged in a French, medium toasted, 3 years old barrel, reached a good colour and a good tasting balance after 3 months. The other, aged in a French, soft toasting, 2 years old barrel, acquired the best colour and a more intense aroma than the other samples, after 6 months ageing.

Related sheets: