Oak is a fundamental ingredient when ageing premium wines as it adds aroma compounds to both red and white varieties. But not only is it tasty, oak aged wines could essentially give you all the health benefits tied to ellagic acid.
Our body converts ellagitannins (which besides certain berries, nuts and green tea is also found in oak aged wines) into ellagic acid, much like beta carotene into vitamin A. Research suggests that ellagitannin helps in preventing the formation of cancer cells and aids in the destruction of existing ones. According to a study done by the Oregon State University, ellagic acid also slows the growth of fat cells, so it could be beneficial for those who are fighting obesity as well.
But ellagitannin is not the only active element in oak. Lactones, for example, have coconut aromas along with many other components which also contribute to the spicy, sweet and smoky tasting notes – adding flavours such as vanilla, clove, caramel and char to the wines. Some oak used for barrels are also toasted to increase aromas like vanilla and butter.