Many studies have examined the chemical and sensory differences of wine when exposed to different types of oak and other woods, as well as the difference in chemical and sensory attributes in wines kept in barrels as opposed to wines exposed to oak barrel alternatives such as oak extract and oak chips.

The study presented here aims to add to this wealth of knowledge, while adding different woods that have not yet been tested for chemical and organoleptic changes in wine, and compares the effects of the different woods on Greek wines.

This study looks at a total of 11 different woods, and their chemical and sensory effects on two types of wine from Greece.  The goal of the study was simple – to examine the chemical and sensory differences between the wines when aged using different types of wood chips, and whether or not there were one or two woods that performed significantly better than the others in terms of their chemical and sensory characteristics, which could ultimately be considered a “healthier” wine with greater levels of health-benefitting polyphenols.

Methods

Two wines were used in this analysis:  Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon from the Greek appellation Messenikolas (Karditsa county).

The woods used for the wood chips came from 11 different forest and fruit tree species, including: 1) white oak (Quercus alba L.); 2) red oak (Quercus rubraL.); 3) Turkey oak (Quercus cerris L. var. cerris); 4) chestnut (Castanea sativa L.); 5)Bosnian pine (Pinus heldreichii Christ. var. leucodermis); 6) cherry (Prunus avium L.); 7) common juniper (Juniperus communis L.); 8) common walnut (Juglans regia L.); 9)white mulberry (Morus alba L.); 10) black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L.); and finally 11) apricot (Prunus armeniaca L.).

Most of the woods came from Karditsa county in Greece, though the white mulberry came from Drama county, and Bosnian pine from Grevena county, while the red and white oak were imported (from exactly where was not made clear).

Wood samples were air-dried for three months, then cut into 1x1x1cm cube chips.  Wood chips were NOT toasted.

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