Wine maturing: in a cask, in a tun or in a tank
21 February 2020
Wine maturing: when the expression of wines awak with the contact of wood
Wine maturing is an art and it is today’s subject ! Our cellar master, Rodolphe Dumont talks about ageing in wood, commonly used on our white wines from Mâcon such as our Pouilly-Fuissé, but also some of our Beaujolais red wines such as our Moulin a Vent or Fleurie. Wine maturing is a key step in wine production which allows to bring complexity, richness, matter and finesse over the months to a wine that is in perpetual evolution. The ageing of a white wine can last one year in a cask and about 6 to 12 month for a red wine in a tun. A cask has a capacity of 255Litres and a tun about 4000Litres. The area of contact with the wine is then proportionnally more important in a cask than in a tun which causes a more important interaction as well.
With a monthly tasting of the wine that is maturing, Rodolphe intervenes very little but keeps controlling it so that he knows that the conditions are ideal for the yeasts and bacterias that are naturally present in the wine.
Here are a few things to know about the different containers and materiels used to preserve and age the wine:
*Wine maturing in a cask for a white wine: during its construction at the cooper, the french oak cask undergoes a phase of temperature rising. ( The wood is heated to be curved and take the shape of a barrel). The barrel gets roasted and this roast is at the origin of the wooden aromas (also vanilla, toasted bread, almonds,…) transmitted to the wine during the ageing phase. A cask can be kept up to 3 years because we consider that after some point the cask loses its roast and the wood doesn’t give enough anymore. It can be used for 3 different vintages and is then replaced with a new cask.
*Wine maturing in a tun: Here also, french oak wood is used. It’s a way more voluminous barrel which will allow the wine to get oxygen (the oxygen is slowly migrating through the wood) at a very slow rate with very few quantities of O2 which will allow the tanins to become less instrangent and more silky. The big difference with the cask is that the contribution of wood is very low when a wine is a matured in a tun because there is less contact between the wine and the wood. Also, the wood was very less roasted than on a cask and a tun can be used for more than 50 years in general.
*Wine maturing in a tank: Generally used on the wines that are supposed to be drank in their youth, the tanks offer a perfect neutrality and preservation of the original wine. It is used to preserve the freshness and youth of the wines. Wine being a biologic matter, it still evolves while in a tank but without extern influences like the two other methods !
After months of ageing, Rodolphe procedes to the blending of the wines.
In our next paper awaits you even more details about wine ageing !