Putting Your Best Oak Forward: Diversity in the World of Barrels

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.
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2006 Campo Viejo Rioja Crianza

Let's start with the conclusion: this is a QPR crazy bottle of wine. What do you do when you're having a couple of dozen people over for a barbecue, but one is your wine-loving boss? Buy this wine. Bright cherry fruit flavors dusted with cocoa powder lead to vanilla from the obvious use of wood. But acids balance tannins, and wood does not overwhelm or collapse into a maple-vanilla mess, but rather complements the fruit. Serve with a crowd and don't worry about disappointing the wine lovers or giving the wine snobs a reason to whine.