In the noble art of producing wines, every detail is essential to achieve sensory excellence. In winemaking, barrels play a crucial role in maturation and the development of the wine's flavour, aroma and texture. In essence, barrels are wooden containers, often made of oak, used in the maturation of wines. The relationship between wine and wood triggers a process of interaction and evolution, shaping the wine's identity.
Maturation is a process that plays an important role in winemaking, responsible for providing complexity, smoothness and elegance. This stage, which occurs after fermentation, happens when the young wine is transferred to the barrels. Maturation takes place over a variable period, which can last for months or even years, depending on the type of wine, the style of the producer and storage conditions. During this period, the wine is transformed and gains unique characteristics. One of the main changes that occur during this process is the evolution of tannins, which are compounds responsible for the structure and astringency of the wine. Initially, tannins can be more pronounced, especially in young red wines. With time in the barrel, the tannins polymerize, becoming smoother and better integrated, resulting in wines that are more velvety on the palate.
Although there are other varieties, oak barrels are the most used, as they offer several advantages and characteristics to the wine. The permeability of oak, for example, allows for better micro-oxygenation inside the barrel. In addition, there are currently different models of oak barrels, such as French oak and American oak, used in the vinification of our wines.
French oak barrels are the most used in the production of wines from around the world. They are known for giving elegance, complexity and smoothness to wines. French oak is very porous, allowing for a better and smoother interaction between the wine and the wood. This interaction results in subtle notes of vanilla, spices and toast in the wines, without overpowering the aromas of the grape varieties. In addition, there are different types of French oak, varying in size and thickness, in this case, the thicker ones tend to provide a more refined texture to the wine, with well-integrated tannins, resulting in fine and aging wines.
In turn, American oak barrels have distinct characteristics compared to French barrels. American oak is denser and has smaller pores, which results in a more intense interaction between wine and wood, in addition to containing more aromatic components. This interaction provides the wine with notes of vanilla, coconut, spices or even caramel. The tannins extracted from these barrels are generally softer and give the wine a unique flavor and good intensity. The period of maturation of the wine in American oak barrels is shorter than in French oak, which is six to nine months at the most.
Wine maturation is an essential process in wine production, where time, patience and oenological wisdom come together to create true masterpieces. Thus, the period between the end of fermentation and bottling is maturation, where the ripening of the wine occurs. Between these and other types of oak barrels, and in addition to the stainless steel tanks that are also responsible for this process, the wines gradually evolve until they reach their fullness, revealing, then, the richness of their characteristics and their terroir.