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Why is American oak more popular than French oak?
Oak barrels are made of oak trees growing all over the world. They are seasoning agents used by winemakers to brew unique style wines. There are many types. Oak barrels in different countries and regions have different functions, which are usually selected by winemakers according to their needs. American oak barrel is one of the most widely used wine barrels at present, which is quite unique. This article will introduce the popular American oak barrel.

1. Main origin

French oak barrels are made of oak trees growing in forests all over France. Oak barrels produced in different forests have subtle differences. Therefore, when the winery orders oak barrels, it often specifies the corresponding specific forest. Unlike French oak barrels, American oak barrels are usually not distinguished by forests. Most of their raw materials are typical Quercus alba, a white oak variety, which is characterized by relatively fast growth and loose texture. American white oak trees grow in 18 different states in the United States, mainly in the Midwest and AppalachianMountains, with a wide planting area. In addition, Quercus garryana produced in Oregon and other places will also be used to make oak barrels.

2. Price and capacity

The price of American barrels is generally lower than that of French barrels, about $500 (about 3500 yuan) each. There are two reasons why American barrels are cheaper. On the one hand, there are differences in the production process of oak barrels. American barrels are usually manually dried, and the production speed is faster; On the other hand, American oak has a wider texture and larger pores, so it does not need to be split manually along the texture, so the material utilization rate is higher. Generally speaking, the utilization rate of a French oak is only about 20% to 25%, while that of an American oak is twice that.

American oak barrels adopt mainstream barrel capacity specifications, generally Bordeaux oak barrels and Burgundy oak barrels, with 225 liters (about 59 US gallons) and 228 liters (about 60 US gallons) respectively. The influence of oak barrels with different capacities on wine is different. The smaller the barrel, the greater the proportion of oak barrels in contact with the liquor in the barrel, and the stronger the influence.

3. Characteristics and flavor

American white oak contains more oaklactones. Therefore, unlike the delicate influence of French barrels on wine, American barrels usually give wine more unrestrained and rich aroma and flavor, such as the sweet smell of coconut, cream soda and vanilla, making the mouth feel smoother.

In addition, compared with French oak, American white oak has looser texture, larger pores and stronger oxygen permeability, so it is more suitable for wine with solid aging structure and full body. This combination can promote the perfect integration of oak barrel flavor and wine aroma, thus giving the wine a more layered aroma and soft tannins. The producing areas that often use American oak barrel aging liquor include Washington state in the United States, Rioja in Spain, and some new world countries.

American oak barrels play a vital role in the process of wine brewing. According to the style of wine, winemakers will choose whether to use this seasoning. If it is properly mixed, it can add charming personality to the wine, make it shine, and achieve the ideal style and quality.

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