Barrel Maturation

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

barrel maturation is the winemaking operation of storing a fermented wine in wooden barrels to create ideal conditions for the components of the wine to evolve and so that the wood imparts some oak flavour. This is an increasingly common practice for superior-quality still wines of all colours and styles, providing them, as it does, with the ideal preparation for bottle ageing.

The most obvious advantage of barrel maturation is that it encourages clarification and stabilization of the wine in the most natural, if not necessarily the fastest, way. It also helps to deepen and stabilize the colour, to soften the tannins, and to increase the complexity of the flavour compounds.