Awesome breakdown of Lanzarote DO last post by Blake Leja, Rachael Ryan, Ryan Bogdan, Jeremy Eubanks and a super cool photo from inderpal singh.
This week: Acacia barrels
How do these differ from oak? What styles will you typically see them used for? Name another alternative to oak that is used for wine barrels production.
Acacia wood barrels differ from oak mainly be imparting less flavor or more subtle flavors to the wine, and instead are used to give the wine a round and creamy texture and mouthfeel. Acacia comes from forests in northern France, and is sawed rather than split into staves. The price of the barrels is typically more than American oak but less expensive than French oak.
Acacia is used by some producers in Europe and the U.S. primarily with white wine styles such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Chenin Blanc, where the desire is to maintain and not overpower the varietal character and flavor profile of the grape, and to provide textural impact of wood and oxygen flow without the oak lactones or flavors such as vanilla and toast.
One other alternative to oak used for wine barrels is chestnut wood. Chestnut barrels are used, for example, in traditional Vin Santo production in Tuscany, because they contribute high amounts of wood tannins and are very porous, promoting increased evaporation in the barrel during many years of maturation.
Do you know the exact species of Acacia? My personal investigation would suggest it is Robinia pseudoacacia (AKA Black Locust) but I would appreciate someone's affirmation!