Our wine barrels are principally 225 litre barriques, made from oak trees that were planted up to 300 years ago in the time of Louis XIV to provide timber for the French navy. This demand declined significantly after the Battle of Trafalgar, allowing the oaks to be put to better use.
The best barrels are now made from the tall, tightly-grained Sessile Oaks (Quercus petraea) growing amongst the tributaries of the River Loire, about 200km south of Paris. To obtain a complexity of flavours, we source oak from various forests, including those of Nevers and Les Bertranges in the Department of Niévre, and Allier, Troncais and Chatillon in the adjoining Department of Allier.
Our reds spend up to thirty months carefully cellared in barriques, which permit gradual, beneficial oxidation to occur, and provide time for subtle oak flavours to be imparted. Simultaneously, the wine’s own flavours and tannins develop. This period is known as the wine’s elévage, or maturation, in preparation for its eventual bottling.