The classic wood for wine barrels, it imparts flavors of vanilla, cedar and/or other spices. The oak from different French forests lends slightly different characteristics to the wine, and is therefore named for the forest region from which it was harvested. Famous French names include Limousin, Nevers, Allier and Troncais. French oak is vital not only in the production of great French wines, but is also used around the world to age everything from California Chardonnay to Oregon Pinot Noir to Australian Cabernets.
The traditional wood for wine barrels, which supplies vanilla, cedar and sometimes butter scotch flavors. Used for red and white wines. Much more expensive than American oak, it can cost more than $500 per barrel, as opposed to $250 for American.