When a winery claims that its wines are aged in French oak, it's referring to wood barrels made from the oak forests of France. French oak barrels cost as much as $600 a pop; hold about 50 gallons (225 liters); are considered the finest in the world; are renowned for improving a wine's texture and character; and impart vanilla, oak, and butterscotch aromas. In Bordeaux, the French oak barrel is referred to as a barrique (bah- REEK), and in Burgundy as pi├Ęce (pea-ESS). See also American oak and oaky.