Oak in Wine




I get a lot of questions about oak in wine and its role in the process of aging wine.  At Kokomo we have this saying: "We oak our wine to taste, similarly to salting our food to taste".  We don't want the salt to overpower the dish, but, rather to accent the flavors of the dish.  Same goes for accenting wine with oak.  I have found that you need a percentage of new oak on wines, especially for crafting ultra-premium wines.  However, the amount of new oak to be used varies from varietal to varietal and vineyard to vineyard.  We also like a bolder Eastern European or American oak on certain wines but by far and away, French oak domintes in our cellar.  This costs us quite a bit more but the results are well worth it.  We mostly use 'medium' toast and occasionally use 'medium plus' toast when needed.  We use toasted heads on American and Eastern European but never on French.  Perfecting the oak thing is an ongoing trial.  It's about marrying the exact complimentary oak regimen with each wine/vineyard to pair beautifully.