Oaked or Unoaked

It’s a common misperception that wine must be oaked (aged in oak barrels).
There are many different ways of making wine, but the one which makes the big difference on the palate is quite simply OAK BARRELS!

Whether the wine is raised in oak barrels or not is mainly due to tradition.
In the Loire Valley, traditionally, wines are not oaked.

  • We harvest the grapes in September, or thereabouts.
  • We raise the wines in tanks which can be made of stainless steel or resin or cement.
  • When the wine is ready it is bottled…
  • This means that our wines are aged in the bottle!
Historically, oak barrels were used for storage and transport. Nothing to do with wine itself.
I cannot say that it is better or worse to raise wine in oak barrels. It is just different.
All the wines on AmandasWines are unoaked!

Sometimes, you taste a wine and all you can taste is the flavour of the oak. This is generally known as “over-oaked” wine. Such a shame! It should never be so obvious. It should be just a slight “support” to enhance the flavour of the fruit.

In actual fact, the tradition of storing wine in oak barrels has nothing to do with flavouring, and everything to do with transportation. It was simply how wine was moved from one place to another in the days of old.
The tradition of storing wines in oak barrels would date back to the Middle Ages when the monasteries were very active in making the very best wines they could. They all vied with each other to have better wines than their neighbours’ and they were fiercely jealous if another monastery made better wines than theirs.

Wine was not stored in oak barrels locally. In fact, during some excavations in the cellars of the Château of Chaumont some years ago, archaeologists discovered wine tanks hewn out of stone and lined with thick glass tiles. Hence the tradition to age in the bottle!

All of the wines available on this website are unoaked, in the traditional manner of wines from the Loire Valley.