By LeafTV Editor

Oak creates a division among oenophiles. During the 1980s and '90s, oak-aging acquired a negative connotation because of the tendency for California winemakers to "over-oak" their chardonnay, aging it too long in low-quality barrels in an attempt to achieve the desired "hint of vanilla" and velvety mouthfeel. The attempt failed.

Wine and Cheese
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The Best Red Wines With Oak Flavor

Unfortunately, the aversion to oak carried over into the domain of reds, where oak-aging is not only desirable but necessary to achieve a complex, full-bodied flavor and fragrance. Oak-aging and the quality of wine have a concomitant relationship that extends to cost as well: The top 50 most expensive wines in the world undergo oak-aging. But cost isn't always indicative of quality, and you can find luxurious oak-flavored reds at reasonable prices.