Alcoholic Liquids and Wood Barrels

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

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The great good fortune of wine and beer is that microbes can “spoil” fruit juice and gruel into something both delicious and pleasantly inebriating. A few centuries ago, winemakers and distillers discovered another remarkable piece of good luck: simply storing wine, spirits, and vinegars in wood barrels turns out to give them a new and complementary dimension of flavor.