Oak Aging Laws

Matt Stamp is incredible. If I could have an RSS feed to tell me every time he posted, I would subscribe in an instant! He was actually the person I was expecting to answer quickly, but I suppose it’s possible that TFL is keeping him busy. [snort.gif] Is he still there or is he just working for the Guild now?


for Langhe and Roero up-to-date rules, go to Denominazione: Barbaresco DOCG - Corsorzio Barolo e Barbaresco and click on the tab that interests you (in Italian only, though). The thing which shocked me was that Barolo and Barbaresco have both had their minimum wood-aging periods reduced (to 18 and 9 months respectively), which I think is bizarre.

What’s funny is that I’m studying for my certified sommelier class, and I asked the question on both this board and the guild of sommeliers forum. I got a reply within hours here, it’s been a couple of days there and no answer!

Kyle - for some reason I’m not surprised.

I’ve seen some of the tests for that and for the various wine certification programs and just remember, the key to doing well, just as in any other test, is to provide the answers that THEY want, whether or not you think they’re precisely correct. So regarding the aging laws - remember that in some cases they require X number of months in cask and bottle and in other cases, they require X number of months in cask AND x number of months in bottle. With Rioja GR for example, you can leave your wine in wood for 4 years or 20 years, but no matter how long you leave it, you need the additional 3 years in bottle. On the other hand, a Reserva requires at least a year in wood out of the three years total. You can mix it up any way you want. Good luck.


I don’t believe he’s at the French Laundry any more, not sure where he landed. I did a podcast with him, Shelley Lindgren and Geoff Kruth on Sicilian wines a little while ago, and very much enjoyed it. Both Geoff and Matt are a credit to the profession.

I don’t think I understand what you’re asking here; the appellation regulations are not secrets, and can be found at sites like:

Oliver and Kyle, thanks for the kind words.

Kyle, I assume you found the information you were looking for on the Guild of Sommeliers website. If not, you could always check here: GuildSomm
or here: GuildSomm
…or look in our compendium for whatever else you are looking for in regards to oak aging requirements. Generally, if the information is readily available on the site, people don’t tend to respond to queries right off the bat. You have to try to do your own research first, right?

As an FYI, the Guild of Sommeliers does not have a certification program. We give out scholarships for Court of Master Sommeliers examinations, but our goal as a membership organization is to provide a network for working sommeliers throughout the country, and a repository of up-to-date information on the world of wine. We want to grow understanding and knowledge of wine for the profession. Check us out sometime: www.guildsomm.com

Matt Stamp MS
Program Director, Guild of Sommeliers

Matt, yes, I did find it actually. To be entirely honest, I didn’t realize the Guild had a compendium section until you told me about it in my thread there. newhere Thanks for responding though!

Hey Matt - good enough. I checked out the site. No knock intended here but by posting on this forum, Kyle was able to elicit information from people who may be somms, and who may be importers, retailers, perhaps even producers, as well as passionate amateurs. Given that Spain in general doesn’t have a high profile and that I’ve seen questionable answers as the preferred responses in the past, I posted what I did. The goal of the site you linked - increasing the knowledge of somms, is highly laudable. No knock intended.

BTW Kyle, I should mention that Navarra also has aging laws and in fact, they do actually have some of the most specific reqs. Navarra allows 350–liter barrels and they also require that no barrels are used for more than ten years. I suppose they figured they’d make themselves respected by being more restrictive than Rioja, but unfortunately, they can’t really hold a candle to their neighbors yet.

Also, the rest of Spain also has laws regarding aging, but Rioja, Navarra and RdD require slightly longer periods than the base level required by the general Spanish rules.

Given that most of the people who post here aren’t in the business I am amazed by the depth of knowledge they demonstrate, but here is a lot of bad information available on the internet. Some of it may simply be out of date; for example there is a lot of Barolo/Barbaresco information out there that doesn’t reflect the changes I mentioned above. You have to know what the real ‘primary source’ is to be confident of the information. Having a single source that collects those sources is very useful for geeks or students.

OMG, a barrel room full of 50L barrels. It’s like my worst nightmare! [shock.gif]

Yeah, that would be a hell of a lot of work if you were making regular wine, but remember that if you’re making vin santo, you’re making pretty small quantities so you won’t have a bunch a of those things, and many producers just press the grapes into the caratelli, seal 'em up, and forget about them for years! For Lanciola, for example, it’s four years before they have to start messing with them again, so the workload is pretty spread out.

Hmmm…Paso Santo has a certain ring to it. I say go for it!!

Hmmm…Paso Santo has a certain ring to it. I say go for it!!

Oh yeah! [cheers.gif]