To make a great wine, as much as important are the grape varieties selected and which proportion, the vineyard´s care and its vinification as the kind of barrels and ageing´s duration. A mistake in any mentioned process may ruin previous work.
The wood allows a controlled entry of the oxygen, which smooths wine´s texture with this oxidative ageing. A natural clarification of the wine by sedimentation is given inside the barrels and loses carbonic´s gas excess. Moreover, the wood adds tannins and organoleptic characteristics to the wine: notes of vanilla, coconut, honey, anise, toasted, coffee, pipe tobacco, cocoa…
Along history have been used to vinify woods of chestnut, pine tree , fir , cherry tree and beech, but oak´s wood is the best to age wine, because it is resistant, flexible, with neutral aromas and adding high quantity of tannins. Tannin is a chemical substance that can be found in vine´s wood, grape skin and seeds, cortex of trees. It adds bitterness and astringency to wine, but the flavour gets more complexity. It is important control how long the wine is in contact with the barrel, because if it is too long, it may create astringent tannins that can be above the rest of aromas and flavours of wine. The tannin is a natural preservative which helps the wine to age longer, as long as the bottle has been kept in optimal conditions.
The characteristics that oak barrels transmit to the wine depend on several factors such as oak´s kind, its origin, and also its age, the kind of cut, the toasty grade and environmental conditions during the aging (temperature, oxygen level, humidity…).
Bodegas Torre del Veguer uses the oak barrels a maximum of 5 years, then we separate them, they are not used again to vinify and we buy new ones. This way, with this renovation system, every year we buy a fifth part of the total barrels; we believe that it is the best way to standardize oak barrel´s age and the prevent from having one year all of them new or with 5 years.
There aren’t rules when defining which are the best barrel type for a determinate wine; it depends on the character that the oenologist wants to impregnate to the wine.