Quercus Pyrenaica: why winemaking with Spanish oak barrels

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The species and origin of the oak from which the barrels are made are factors that greatly influence the composition of the wines.

The vast majority of wineries use French and/or American oak barrels, but in recent years the use of barrels made from other types of wood has been increasing. And, Spain being the great wine-producing country that it is, full of tradition and history, it makes sense to use Spanish oak barrels for ageing our wines.

The most common type of oak in our country is the Pyrenean oak, also called Quercus Pyrenaica. It is native to the Iberian Peninsula and its forest mass is 1,090,716 ha.

Its quality has been demonstrated in several oenological studies, in which the transfer of volatile compounds, the polyphenolic evolution of the wines and their sensory analysis have been verified. After various investigations, it was concluded that Spanish oak has at least the same quality as French or American oak, with a chemical composition intermediate between the two.

Moreover, the production and use of Spanish oak has a very positive impact on the country’s economy, as well as improving the care of our oak forests, thus benefiting the ecosystem. However, the forest mass in Spain is lower than in France, making it a more exclusive and costly material, and a good management of its use is necessary, giving priority, above all, to its sustainability.

Thus, domestic oak is totally valid for ageing quality wines. Its wood endows it with complexity and gives it a personality of its own.

This is the reason why more and more wineries opt for its use, assuring that it provides an exclusive olfactory elegance and a good wood-wine interaction, offering higher woody notes and aromas that are usually sought after, such as roasted coffee, coffee with milk, spices, etc. In addition, they claim to have a higher content of polyphenolic and volatile compounds, and a balance in their tannic composition.

Being able to have different types of oak contributes to a greater diversification of the characteristics of the wines and provides different oenological tools to test which is the most interesting wood to use according to the typicity of the grape and the wine they are making.

And this is what we are looking for at Tonelería Murúa: to provide winemakers with other ways of creating and storing wine. Different barrels that we can manufacture thanks to our experience and capacity for constant adaptation.


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