If someone says "This tastes like oak!" I like to imagine that moment when I forget to take a toothpick out of my club sandwich.
Using wood to describe a $90 bottle can seem odd, however, oak barrels are a huge part of what gives a wine its tasting characteristics. Here is a quick tip that can help better pick up what people mean when using a tree to describe their wine.
When people think of making wine one of the first images that pops up is a barrel. Oak barrels have been used for thousands of years to age wine. They are a great vessel that allows just a little air in and adds some great flavors.
If you drink a red wine aged in oak, you will likely taste the following:
French Oak: Subtle All-Spice and a Smooth Aftertaste
American Oak: Vanilla, Coconut, and Cream Soda
Pinot noir typically ages in French Oak barrels for around 10 months, giving it less of a sweet taste and a great ability to pair with any type of food.
So, if you are a fan of the savory, go for pinot noir aged in French Oak, and if you have a bit of a sweet tooth, try pinot from American Oak Barrels.