Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs. You can also follow me on Twitter: @AskDrVinny.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
Why is French oak considered to be the best kind of wood to store wine?
—Arturo, Cabo, Mexico
I don’t think it’s universally agreed that French oak barrels are the best (unless you’re speaking to a French oak barrel sales rep). In the most general terms, French oak barrels are thought to impart more subtle nuances than American ones, with smoke and spice and silky textures. Some vintners prefer the stronger influence of American barrels and their vanilla, coconut and creamy notes. Plenty of producers use a variety of barrels, including a mix of French and American. Some producers also use oak from Hungary, Slavonia and elsewhere.
Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...
Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more
Learn from the experts and get the most out of each sip. Take one of our online courses or take them all—from the ABCs of Tasting to in-depth seminars on Food Pairing, California Cabernet, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Sensory Evaluation and more.
Passionate about wine? WineSpectator.com seeks a highly motivated digital journalist for an assistant editor position in its New York editorial department.
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions
New! Ratings Flash