If you've never put your nose inside a few well-wrought barrels, it may be hard to understand just how excited winemakers can become about oak - and also, just how varied the contribution of oak to the profile of a wine can be. The range of smells, the different characters that jump at you, as you compare individual barrels, is simply astonishing.
Like many wine lovers, my first great tasting experience was a Pinot Noir. I remember it well: a Frédéric Magnien Chambolle-Musigny Vieilles Vignes. It was this wine that made me stop and think—there is something special here that cannot be described in words, but only through experience. It was one of those revelatory moments that made me fall in love with wine. However, I found it astonishing that the next time I had another such experience with Pinot Noir, it was not from Burgundy, but from Prince Edward County, Canada.