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Dear Dr. Vinny,

I can't stand Cabernets aged in new American oak. Is there anywhere that lists what type of barrel each winery uses or some other similar resource?

—Jon, Las Vegas

Dear Jon,

Unfortunately, no, there isn’t a single registry where you can find out what the oak regimen is of every individual wine. If this is important to you, your best bet is to get the information directly from the winery. Sometimes that data is on a wine’s back label, and it’s fairly common for winery websites to feature details about each vintage of every wine—look for the tech sheets, which often include information about grape blends and barrel aging.

While I’m not questioning your observation about not liking American oak—and certainly there are some big differences between French and American oak and how they influence a wine's character—I’d just like to suggest that you keep an open mind. Maybe it’s not American oak that you don’t like, but wines that are heavily oaked and out of balance. You might enjoy some wines with smaller percentages of American oak, or lighter toast, or from larger or older barrels where the oak influence is more subtle.

—Dr. Vinny

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