Today, in many regions, the properties of new oak barrels are used for red wine and, to a lesser extent, for white wines such as Chardonnay. A wine that’s aged in oak gains spicy and toasted or grilled flavours.
Barrel Ageing - A Recent Fashion
Since the 1970s, when oaky flavours in wine started to become fashionable, ageing wine in new oak barrels became widespread. But it’s not just for the oaky flavours that a winemaker may decide to age wine in a barrel.
Size and Age of Barrels
The word barrel is used generically to describe all wooden barrels. However, barrels come in different sizes. The most well-known barrels are the Bordeaux, which holds 225 litres, and the Burgandy, which holds 228 litres.
Over time and through a process of trial and error, the ideal size for a barrel was determined (an average capacity of between 200 and 230 litres became accepted) and the Bordeaux bar