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Wine Aroma Profiles of a Chardonnay Wine Aged in Four Different Oak Types

©Richard Gawel

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Richard Gawel 1, Tony Royal 2 and Peter A. Leske 3
1Recognose Pty Ltd, PO Box 487, Unley, South Australia, 5061
2Seguin Moreau Australia, King William Road, Unley, South Australia, 5061
3Nepenthe Vineyards, Charleston, South Australia, 5244


An large (n=42) untrained but experienced group of winemakers was used to produce the wine aroma profiles of a Chardonnay wine1 aged for 10 months and stirred once weekly for four months, in four different oak types2 sourced from the same cooper (Seguin Moreau: American oak U stave plus toasted heads, French, Russian and Napa coopered American). Analysis of intensity ratings given by assessors who were reproducible in repeat assessments of the wines showed that the American oak U stave barrel with toasted heads produced wines with greater coconut, vanilla, toast, butter, in-mouth texture, and overall oak character than did the other treatments (Figure 1). The degree of fruit displayed in the wines was inversely related to the overall degree of oak character. Despite there being some differences in the levels of important oak impact compounds between the French and Russian oaked wines, their sensory profile was perceived to be similar.

1Base Wine Analysis

Vintage and Origin: 2000 Carneros-Napa Valley Chardonnay.
Analysis: Juice: 23.5o Brix: pH 3.36 Wine: EtOH 14.6%: pH 3.46: Residual 1.0 g/L

2Oak Details

Oak Source

Seguin Moreau

French Chagny White

Seguin Moreau

American Oak U Stave

Seguin Moreau Russian Oak Seguin Moreau

American Oak, Napa Cooperage
Toast Level and Type Medium Plus Medium Plus

Toasted Heads
Medium Plus Medium Plus
Aroma/Flavour Volatiles
Cis-oak lactone(m g/L)
(coconut like)
75 205 51 52
Trans-oak lactone(m g/L)
(coconut celery like)
49 32 103 33
(smokey like)
11 45 9 16
4-methylguaiacol(m g/L)
(bacon like)
11 20 9 16
Vanillin(m g/L)
(vanilla like)
306 397 262 343
Eugenol(m g/L)
(clove like)
13 18 16 15

. The band-aid like 4-ethyl phenol and the spicy 4-vinyl phenol were not detected in any wine.
. All wines had almost identical pH, TA, Alcohol, VA and residual sugars.
. The American oaked wine had a higher malic acid content (0.56g/L) compared with the other   treatments (0.02-0.03g/L)

wine aroma profile
Figure 1: Wine Aroma Profiles of a Chardonnay Wine Aged in Four Different Oak Types