Definition - What does Vosges Oak mean?
In the context of winemaking, Vosges Oak is a type of oak used to make wine barrels. Vosges Oak comes from the Vosges Forest located in Eastern France along the border with Germany in a low mountain range also named Vosges. The Vosges Oak is distinguished by its clear color, wide grain and is used by winemakers for the specific charecteristics it develops in wines.
WineFrog explains Vosges Oak
Vosges Oak is a French Oak used in winemaking to make barrels or chips that are used to age or flavor wine. Wine makers use oak to impart flavor, color, texture and tannins to wine, and they use oak due to its tightly knit structure of tyloses, which are the structures in wood that make it water tight.
French oak comes from 2 different species of oak; the versatile widely grown Quercus Robur species and the less common Quercus Petraea. Vosges oak is from the Quercus Robur species, which is known to produce a relatively looser grain wood. The looser grain makes Vosges oak a good choice for wines that do not need to age for very long, as the looser grain releases flavors faster into the wine.
Known for its clear color and wider grain, Vosges imparts little color and very smooth tannins to wine and is often used for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines. The main differences in America and French oak, are due to the fineness of the grain or the structure of the tyloses, which is determined by species type. American oak comes primarily from the Quercus Alba oak species, which is characterized by a looser grain with a higher density than French oak. While individual characteristics in oak is due to the terroir of the growing region, the main difference is grain density and porosity which comes from the species of the wood. Wood grain density and porosity, determine how the tannins of the oak will interact with the wine and how long the wine needs to be aged. The less dense the oak, the faster and more aggressive the tannins will be.