When 1 + 1 Doesn’t Equal 2

Imagine two batches of chardonnay. One is fermented in oak and then aged in oak. The other is fermented in stainless steel and then aged in oak. You might expect that the wine receiving two doses of oak (during fermentation and aging) would have the most pronounced oak flavors and strongest impression of wood tannin. But the opposite is usually true. When a wine is fermented in oak, the yeasts also interact with the wood. When the spent yeast cells (lees) are ultimately removed from the wine, a measure of the wood flavor and tannin are removed with them.

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