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The specificities of tonnellerie berthomieu are its selection of wood from the great forests and its unique pre-toast steaming process

A selection from the great forests

Berthomieu barrels are made with staves that have undergone rigorous selection.  Each barrel is made from oaks that have grown in the same forest: Nevers, Allier, Vosges or generic Centre France.

The guarantee of the traceability of a forest is primordial for a stave maker.  The impact of the forest’s terroir on the wood is comparable to that of the vineyard’s terroir on the wine.  For a good technical command of the product it is essential that the winemaker knows, from year to year, the precise provenance of the wood.  

Thanks to its own stave mills which produce 100% of its staves, Tonnellerie Berthomieu is assured of the perfectly regularity of its wood supply.

Staves used for Berthomieu barrels have been seasoned naturally in the open air, in yards free of all pollution, for a minimum of 24 months.

NEVERS – Fine Grain

Light structure; smoothness; freshness.

Nevers encompasses of group of forests situated around Nevers (in the department of the Nièvre in the centre of France), a region of gently rolling hills and rich, humid soils.  Nevers produces trees that are tall and straight, with regular grain. The predominant species is the Quercus Robur oak.  Oak from Nevers is recognisable by its tight grain.  It gives less structure to the wine than that of the Allier forest, but confers on it an agreeable smoothness.  The quality of Nevers oak is also acclaimed for its ability to preserve wine’s natural tension and freshness.

ALLIER – Fine Grain

Finesse; tannins and structure; length of finish.

The forest of Allier takes its name from the department in which it is situated.  Although the Allier is adjacent to the southern part of Nevers, its terroir is totally different.  The grain of Allier oak tends to be tighter than the other forests.  It respects the fruit whilst giving it finesse, tannins and structure. Prolonged ageing in a barrel of Allier oak brings polish to the palate and excellent length.

VOSGES – Medium Fine Grain

Softness of Tannins, sucrosity, body, freshness.

The forest of the Vosges extends to the North-Eastern extremity of France, close to the German border.  The oaks that grow here in this mountainous region are taller with a medium fine grain compared to other French oaks. Vosges oak tends to soften a wine’s tannins and imparts richness on the palate. It is an excellent option for adding freshness to a wine.

A unique pre-toast process using steam

To shape its barrels, Tonnellerie Berthomieu employs a unique technique that uses steam to bend the staves. This has multiple benefits for the wood :

• The intensive exposure to steam has a final "purifying" effect on the wood, helping to eliminate any bitter tannins : in fact, research carried out by Laboratoire Exact in 2014 showed a 94% reduction in the quantity of ellagitannins in the wood after steam treatment.

• This steam treatment gently dilates the pores of the wood, allowing the final toasting to penetrate right to the heart of the staves.

• Thanks to this pre-toast treatment, the toasting phase can be long and gentle, which preserves and respects the original fruit characters of the wine.

Download the Technical Sheet