Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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oak chips, useful if ersatz winemaking tool, an inexpensive alternative to top-quality barrel maturation which imparts oak flavour and aroma and may improve mouthfeel and colour stability though the resultant wine may be less complex and have poorer ageing potential.

Oak chips vary considerably both in the provenance of the oak (from subtle Cher to harsher American oak) and in the size of the chip (from pencil shaving to the more common cashew nut size). Oak chips, just like barrels, are also subjected to different degrees of toast. The quality of the oak, the method and duration of seasoning, and the degree and duration of toast are far more significant than the shape of the chip or shaving.