Every specialist in wine making knows that nothing is as important as the type of barricas de madera used in storing and aging the wine. This type of wood has a series of compounds, whose properties interact with the wine and result into a perfect, complex and rich beverage.
Winemakers have their own secret to make the best wines in the world. Some of them use a special kind of grapes, others calculate the exact amount of time that is necessary in the aging process and others find the perfect aromas for their grapes. But none of these techniques are efficient unless the wine is aged in an oak barrel. The properties of the oak seem to provide the perfect outcome when it comes to wine making.
The fifty most expensive wines in the world are actually made in oak barricas. Red wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel or Pinotage tend to benefit from the properties of an oak barrel. Of course, there are white wines that are made through the same process of aging too. It is the well-known Pinot Blanc, or the Sauvignon Blanc and the Chardonnay the most famous white wines that are kept into oak barricas.
What makes these barricas de madera so special and how do they affect the wine? The truth is that specialists didn’t manage to find out exactly how, but it is true that oak is the only type of wood that produces positive results. The special compounds of the oak, vanillin and wood tannins seem to interact with the wine change everything from its aroma to the texture and complexity of the beverage. Aging in oak barrels is recommended for adding or enhancing some of the spicy aromas of the wine
Nowadays, it is also known that they size of the barrel can also have an impact on the outcome of the wine making process. In fact, small oak barrels have proven to be more effective. The amount of toasting which is given when the barrel is manufactured can also be of great importance. It is a real art to know how to match the degree of toasting with the type of wine. Toasting can be considered the seasoning of the wine. Every winemaker has his own secrets from this point of view.
The amount of time spent in the barricas de madera can also influence the result. Depending on the variety of grapes used in wine making, it can stay less than one year or up to a few decades. There are a few other factors that can influence this decision of the winemaker, including the intensity of the wine or the cultural flavor preference. Delicate wines are not suitable for long aging for example, because they are going to become too powerful after that.
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