Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Did You Know?... About Oaked vs Non-Oaked White Wine

While they tend to be bottled quicker than red wines, white wines also see fermentation and aging time before they end up in the bottle. There are two main techniques for the fermentation process: stainless steel and oak barrels.

Stainless Steel: Most white wines spend some time in stainless steel tanks. This leaves the wine with its inherent flavors, usually resulting in bright, crisp wines.
Varietals: Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay

Oak: A limited few varieties of white wine are fermented in oak barrels. Time in oak will impart tannin to a white wine, adding layers of wood, smoke, and other more robust flavors.
Varietals: Chardonnay, Fume Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Semillion

Interestingly, we found a handful of esoteric aging methods, such as the use of clay pots or glass and concrete tanks. These are usually ancient, historic styles that can range wildly in the flavors they help create.

Aging wine in Stainless Steel Tanks, Oak Barrels
Traditional stainless steel barrels

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