Effect of Barrel-to-Barrel Variation on Color and Phenolic Composition of a Red Wine

Tangible variation of sensory characteristics is often observed in wine aged in similar barrels. Barrel-to-barrel variation in barrel-aged wines was investigated in respect of the most important phenolic compounds of oenological interest. A red wine was aged in 49 medium-toasted oak (Quercus petraea) barrels, from four cooperages, for 12 months. The resulting wines were evaluated for chromatic characteristics, anthocyanin-related parameters, total phenols, flavonoids and nonflavonoids phenols, flavanol monomers, and oligomeric and polymeric proanthocyanidins. PCA and ANOVA were applied to investigate the relationships between barrels and to assess cooperage and individual barrel effect. Three cooperages influenced the wine similarly during aging. Anthocyaninrelated parameters showed the highest variation, 25–37%, other phenolics varied 3–8.5%, and with two exceptions, chromatic characteristics changed 1.7–3%. The relationship between the number of barrels and the expected variation for each analytical parameter was calculated, as reference for future measurements involving barrel lots, either in wine production or experimental design.