Battle of the old vs. new oak – wine terminology

Have you ever come across the wine terms ‘old oak’ and ‘new oak’? Many wineries will refer to this when they’re describing their wine: “this wine is 80% old oak, and 20% new oak”. So what does this all mean?

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Getting the low down on old and new oak at Cloudy Bay Winery NZ

‘Old oak’ and ‘new oak’ refer to the types of oak barrels being used to house the wine. When a winemaker uses percentages to describe the wine e.g. ‘80% old oak and 20% new oak’, it means 80% of the wine has been stored in old oak barrels (which have been used time and time again), while 20% of the wine has been stored in new oak barrels. Storing wine in old oak barrels tend to give off subtle oak characteristics, while new oak barrels enables the wine to exhibit a lot of characteristics of the oak.

A great way to think about old oak and new oak terminology is by using the humble teabag – When you use a new tea bag, you really get the full flavour of the tea leaves – this is like new oak. After having dunked the bag a few times, the tea bag only releases a small amount of flavour from the leaves – this is like old oak.

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I know what you’re thinking; “what a great analogy”…or “all this wine talk, I need a vino!” Am I right?!  Either way, you’re welcomes 🙂

Until next time winos,

Cheers

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