Berthomieu, Ermitage & Œnosylva
The blog of cooperages and the oak specialist for oenology
Berthomieu, Ermitage & Oenosylva
The blog of cooperages and the oak specialist for oenology

Bertranges Forest

The secular oak forest of Bertranges, north of Nevers, on the right bank of the Loire, is located in the Burgundy-Franche-Comté region; this means that geography has naturally dedicated it to wine.

The history of this tall wooded forest goes back to the 12th century and its destiny is linked to a woman, Ermengarde de Narcy, who gave the “Grande Bertrange”, the wooded area under her seigniory, to the Benedictines monks of La Charité-sur-Loire.

The state forest, nationalized during the French Revolution, extends over 14 communes and 389 parcels, a total of 7,500 hectares, with 80% oak and 5% beech, which were formerly dominant.

It provides oak logs of exceptional quality that cabinetmakers and coopers compete for every year at sales organized by the ONF (National Forest Organization).


Its secret lies in its soil, a Jurassic ground formed of “clayey or clay-siliceous silts from the Upper Pliocene, generally referred to as flint clays”.


“This Atlantic oak grove has a geological profile close to Tronçais and Bercé”, underlines Cyril Gilet, ONF territorial forest technician working in Bertranges since 1996. “It is a forest of sessile oaks at 80%, of which the average age is 90 years. The sessile is a slow growing tree, with its train of vegetation, beeches or hornbeams, and it needs about 60 years older than the peduncle to reach two feet in diameter. The tallest tree here measures 38 meters, it may seem limited, but the oak grows before it gets bigger and it is the slow growth that determines its quality, “adds this devoted green hussar to” the Bertrange “. The older a forest, the richer its soil is in humus; this is the secret of this oak grove that can be described as a “Grand Cru” forest


Regarding aging in barrels, the Bertranges oaks give the wines subtle tannins with the greatest respect of their fruit and their substance. These advantageous characteristics make them among the most coveted in France’s cooperage.

They also bring precision and fruit (notes of stone fruit, kirsch) and a lot of freshness in the mid-palate for a nice tension. This prestigious forest origin makes it possible to coat the wines while coating them with a sweetening effect without heaviness. Longn opened and fresh  finale with sometimes a tense finish. Finally, the slower setting of wood reveals the great terroirs if there is a good texture at the base.


Find the article on Bertranges in the primer of the great oak groves of France, and much more, in the book Le chêne en majesté, from forest to wine by Sylvain Charlois and Thierry Dussard, triply awarded by the jury of the Prizes of the OIV 2021 and by the price of “Clos de Vougeot” 2019.

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