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Oak

 

Family of trees much associated with wine. Oak is considered the best material for construction of barrels for fermenting or ageing wine. It has the necessary mechanical properties for cooperage and, when new, imparts a pleasant flavour to the wine. A by-product of barrel-making is oak chips, and recently some winemakers have started to use these to impart oak flavour to wines without incurring the high cost of buying barrels. Finally, the bark of the cork oak is the source of the traditional closure for wine bottles.

Oaky

 

The presence of oak flavour on the nose or palate, typically a smell of freshly sawn wood, or vanilla. Well-integrated oak may not be detectable, giving added complexity without dominating the flavour. Excessive oakiness is considered a fault by many wine lovers.

Oechsle

 

Widely used German scale for measuring must weight.

Oenologist

 

Qualified winemaker.

Oenology

 

Scientific study of wine.

Organic wine

 

Made from grapes grown without use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers, and with a minimum of additives in the cellar.

Oxidation

 

Group of chemical reactions which occur when wine comes into contact with air. Slight oxidation results in a loss of fruit and freshness and browning in white wines. More severe oxidation results in a high level of volatile acidity and, eventually, transformation of the wine into vinegar.

Oxidized

 

Tasting term indicating that the wine has suffered from contact with air, resulting in browning in white wines, loss of fruit and freshness, and possibly a high level of volatile acidity.

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