Did you know that some of the best oaked red wines will actually breathe themselves out of their wooden storage barrels during their maturation process? Being naturally porous, oak wine barrels are prone to lose as many as 5 gallons of wine to evaporation during the course of storage. Yet this process is essential to rounding out the flavor profile of the best oaky wines and increasing their complexity. Here's a rundown of some of the five best oaky red wines you may not have heard of.
La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva Especial 2001
This oaked red wine hails from Spain and is dark ruby in color with a complex grouping of flavors that includes notes of cherry, wildberry, and orange. Many oenophiles praise this oaked wine for its super smooth mouth-feel and well blended characteristics, noting that no element in particular dominates the rest. This Rioja is recommended as a compliment to meat dishes as simple as filet mignon or as complex as quail and foie gras. It is especially capable as a dinner wine because its time in the oak aging barrels gives it a leathery and substantial mouth-feel that goes nicely with a complex meal.
Pairs well with: Complex, rich meat dishes like quail or foie gras or choice cuts of steak.
750ml $29.99 or 1.5L $64
If you're looking for less of a committment and more of an easy bottle of wine to share with friends, check out Australia's Yellowtail Merlot. This delicious red wine has strong oaky flavorings that are rounded out by hints of sweet vanilla and berry.
Equally competent when drunk on its own or paired with a hearty meal, you can't go wrong with Yellowtail's merlot or cabernet when you're in the mood for an oaky red wine.
Yellow tail is also much more affordable than many similar wines and it's a great way to furnish a larger dinner party inexpensively without sacrificing quality. It's the perfect wine when you're in the mood for something light and quite dry with a rich bouquet of different flavors.
Pairs well with: Mild buttery cheeses like brie, goat cheese or romano. Seared sizzling meat like bbq pork, brisket, kabobs of any kind or seasoned lamb chops. Roast duck, grilled salmon or even meat lasagna. Yellowtail merlot is extremely versatile on the table.
Jacob's Creek Cabernet Sauvignon
Jacob's Creek vineyards has a vast portfolio of wine, and their cabernet sauvignon is a great choice for anyone that wants to experiment with oak-barrel matured red wines without being overpowered by the more acidic notes that these wines are sometimes subjected to.
Described by its producers as featuring plum fruit flavors along with black-currant undertones, this classic cabernet conceals the slightest hints of mint and black pepper in its finish. It is ruby in color with an intense purple hue.
This is another great oaked red wine that will round out a nice meal or help you catch up with those close to you without breaking the bank.
Pairs well with: Braised lamb shanks, especially if they have been rubbed with thyme.
Stag's Leap Gypsy Camp Napa Valley Oaked Red Wine
Produced in 2008, this is oaked red wine features a veritable bouquet of fruit flavors that include raspberry, black cherry, blueberry and strawberry. Rounding out this sweet and full profile are tantalizing hints of licorice.
The maturation barrels that hold gypsy camp wine are made from 100% oak, allowing this wine to commingle its diverse elements completely during its aging. The result is a perfectly blended wine with a unique but polished finish.
This is one oaky red wine you'll want to reserve for special occasions and honored guests. It doesn't have a weekday night sort of price tag!
Pairs well with: Marinated beef sirloin, lamb kebobs or rich pastas with meat sauce.
Saint Francis Syrah Wild Oak 2007 Red Wine
This premium red wine is aged in metal vats but then turned out into blended oak barrels for 2 additional years in order to soak up the flavor enhancing characteristics of the wood.
It is a dark wine with subtle layers of fruit that are at times accented by caramel. It has a soft mouthfeel with strong tannin presence making it another excellent choice for a dinner wine paired with roasted meats.
It is very deep purple in color and strong in its finish. Wine drinkers that favor complex dark wines will enjoy this oak-aged syrah.
Pairs well with: Roasted meats.