American oak, new or not, leaves a distinct signature on a wine. But the materials matter as well. I had a 2009 Montebello last week that exhibited less of an oak signature than this Lytton, while the 2013 Cab over-powered me on the oak.
I’ve learned that apparent oak can be real or imagined, and unless I know that a wine is heavily oaked, to be cautious about drawing conclusions. There have been a number of wines I thought showed oak, but really saw little to none. Sometimes it’s just the way the wine is. If you like the wine for what it is, great; if you think there’s oak, there might be, or there might not
I think the fact people know Ridge uses mostly American oak biases them to say they don’t like it. That might be real, or it might be imagined. I mentioned the conversation I had with Draper about this in another thread, where he told me they’ve done pretty extensive trials using different kinds of oak (not just French and American), and have concluded they like American. But they also are quite rigorous about how the wood is selected and aged.
Not saying what you or others perceive isn’t real, just that it can be tricky to know what you’re really picking up.
I will bring some thither next time we imbibe. Seriously, I believe I can show you some nice examples that will start you down the proverbial rabbit hole…