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October 30, 2009

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This is why I like to enjoy a whole bottle over a night, like a normal person, and observe how it changes.

I am also interested in what you consider the aroma differences between French and American oak.

I do that as well, and often find I enjoy the wine much more the second night.

Tom -

I'll jump in regarding the oak question (because it might get a post of its own sometime soon). American oak can bring a variety of aromas, but most of the time when I talk about American oak, it's mesquite, charry, cooled campfire. That kind of thing. And from what I have learned in talking to winemakers, those aromas come with higher toast and longer periods of time before the barrels are used; otherwise there are some more exotically sweet components.

French oak, in red wine, is a little less shrill. It can be often be a vanilla smell, but unless the fruit is super weak or the oak is all new, the aromas integrate more easily.

That's just my experience. Lenn and I have spoken often about oak of late. I'm sure he'll have more to add. Choosing oak is not an easy game; obviously French is expensive, and there are many who say that American quality has improved and can offer an excellent alternative. I've had some wonderful wines that come from American oak, French oak, Hungarian oak, and no oak.

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