Eighteen months in new French oak. Twelve months in new American oak. Twelve months in semi-new French oak. It seems like wineries use these statements on websites and in tasting rooms to express the quality of their wine (and justification for prices in some cases). We have another idea. Often over-oaked wines are the result of masking poor quality, but is there such a thing as an under-oaked wine? Unlike alcohol, there probably isn’t a general guideline on the line never to be crossed.
We talked a little bit with a winemaker at Ladera about our idea. He loved the spirit of experimentation but warned us that we might not find a clear rule. Oak should be used to add qualities to a wine but ideally in a harmonious way. I guess for each wine there’s the right mix of oak age.
Even though we may come out without any specific outcome, we’re still interested in trying out some wines with a variety of oak aging. Once again we’re going to reach out to the wine world through Twitter and see if people have some recommendations on Cabs with little or a lot of oak. If you have a suggestion, feel free to reach out to us as well @youngtastebuds.