Many people choose to collect wines because for them, wine is already a part of their lives and it makes any wine drinking experience more enjoyable. Increased knowledge of wines is important, whether you are just starting a wine collection or you already have a large number of wines stored in your residential wine cellar.
One of the most interesting topics in the wine world is about unoaked wines. Many people might be wondering what unoaked wines are and their characteristics. This article will discuss unoaked wines, particularly Chardonnay.
Traditionally, wines are allowed to ferment in wine oak barrels, which create the flavors and bouquet of the finished wine. Oak barrels help balance the tannins in wine, enhance the texture and add a little spice and some sweet vanillin characters to the wine.
The wine making process has evolved so much as time has gone by. Some winemakers even deviated from tradition to discover “naked” wines.
“Naked wine” is a term for unoaked wine, or wine that has never been aged inside an oak barrel. Production of unoaked wines involves a cost effective process using a stainless barrel instead of the more traditional oak barrel. Steel aging brings out the true flavor, without the influence of oak barrels.
In unoaked wines, the natural flavors of grapes and elements of the soil from which they are grown are emphasized. Unoaked wine is perfect as a table or dessert wine because of its light flavor. It is perfect for people who cannot drink wine with high tannin content.
If wine is unoaked, the tannin level is lowered, making the wine bearable to drink. Many consumers enjoy a lighter and fruitier wine without the influence of the oak barrels, which is why unoaked wines are widely produced by many winemakers and are present in almost every wine cellar.
We cannot deny that unoaked wines are gaining popularity in the US. One of the most popular non-oaked wines in the US, especially in California, is the unoaked Chardonnay, which was originally popularized by Chablis.
Since Chardonnay is a neutral grape and can deliver various flavors and aromas, many winemakers like to experiment in creating a different taste of the wine after fermentation. Chardonnays which are fermented and aged in oak barrels taste like butter or caramel and have scents of vanilla, spice or wood. They also deliver a creamy texture.
When Chardonnay is fermented and aged in steel wine barrels, it is unoaked or un-wooded. Unoaked Chardonnay has light and delicate flavors, making it more versatile in food pairing compared to oaked Chardonnay.
The true characteristics and crisp fruit flavor of wine will emerge if it is not fermented or aged in oak barrels, which is why some winemakers choose not to oak wines. There’s nothing better than ending a stressful day with a glass of unoaked Chardonnay from your home wine cellar.