Heavy Oak Tests Italian Wine Journalists

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I read on Dr. Vino's Wine Blog about a meeting of Italian sommeliers, wine journalists, and wine bloggers who were given blind tastings of a variety of fine Barberas.  It doesn't seem like too much of a surprise that the heavily oaked versions were not as well-received as those without much oak, but the former were supposed to be the premium products.  Tom's Wine Line has more (he was there), including a great quote from Fabrizio Iuli of Monferrato Barbera: "It is a very trivial idea to think that oak makes a wine important."

There has been a lot of oak going into beer these days.  Sometimes it turns out pretty good, but other times it can be harsh and strange.  Frequently one will hear the flavors of oak being described as "vanilla," but that always seems like a stretch to me.  It seems, also, that an oaked beer in a keg will mellow out considerably after a month or two, so if you have a favorite (such as the Deschutes Jubel 2010), try to revisit it a few months after its release, if you can still find it, and notice the differences.

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