Along with French oak, American oak is the most widely used wood in the world to build barrels for wine aging. American oak barrels are most often used to age red wines (especially Zinfandels, Cabernets and Syrahs), Spanish Sherries, Australian red wines, Bourbon and Scotch. Less frequently utilized in the production of white wines, American oak has a different spice flavor than French oak. In fact, the flavors vary from different forests and states. Kentucky oak imparts mellower flavors, for example, than Oregon oak. Examples of two famous California wines aged in 100 percent American oak are the classic vintages of Beaulieu Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (from the 1940’s to the 1970’s) and ZD Chardonnay.
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