A Barrel and Wine Marriage

I decided to try out a new Chardonnay tonight and I noticed some nice smokey, vanilla notes which caught my curiosity as to what type of barrel they could’ve used to age this wine.  You can find a ton of wines aged in an American Oak, French Oak, or even Stainless Steel Barrel and they could all bring about different notes in your wine.  The type of barrel a winery decides to use will basically intensify or subdue various flavors and ultimately bring about a more complex product.

I’ve been drinking wine for some years now, but feel my palate still doesn’t have a firm hold on this whole barrel thing, so how about you – have you ever been able to tell the difference in your wine?  Do you have a preference?  I know mine, it’s French Oak, just like the one used to age this lovely Chardonnay.