Wood tannins and other phenolics give color and astringency to a finished wine. Also, given that wine is biologically active during the aging process, tannins extracted from wood during this prolonged contact period will balance the wine’s oxidative-reductive cycle, preventing oxidation and reducing the likelihood of off-putting reductive smells.

For instance, the phenolics called ‘furfurals’ are originally very bitter but provide delicate leather and meat aroma percussors which will further develop through oak and bottle aging.

When it comes to white wines, oak aging provides compounds that bacteria (inherited from the fermentation process) will then turn into aromas of cloves, coffee and smoky notes.

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