Wine ageing in barrel
At present, the Domaine Marchand Grillot works with three different coopers: Tonnellerie Rousseau who make barrels at Gevrey-Chambertin, Tonnellerie Hermitage at Charité sur Loire, and Tonnellerie Billon at Beaune.
It is a fundamental choice to use several barrel makers. Different coopers work in different ways, and the barrels have subtly different effects and taste influence. There are several important factors which contribute to a barrels character. Firstly, the origin of the wood (the French forests of Tronçais, Bertranges, and the Allier) which influence the wood’s grain; the finer the wood grain, the greater the elegance and suppleness of the tannins.
The type of wood is also important. We use oak barrels for all the wines, with the exception of the white wine “Insolite” for which we use oak and acacia barrels, the acacia brings notes of honey.
Then there is the time spent drying the wood. Usually it is 24 to 48 months which also influences the tannic structure. 36 to 48 month wood is used for ageing the Grand Cru and Premier Cru wines as it brings more finesse to the wines. Barrels made from 24 to 36 month wood is sufficient to help bring out the character of the different village terroirs.
Lastly, the level of “toasting” of the wood comes into play. The choice is important to bring in more or less “toasted” aromas.
Every year and for each wine, these factors and characteristics are taken into account, and the appropriate barrels are chosen to complement the composition of the wines. At the end of the ageing process, we will rack off a fine structured wine with excellent gustative quality.
The barrel ageing process happens in our cellars, where the wine remains between 12 and 18 months before being bottled. We use about 1/3 new oak barrels, barrels older than 3 years are no longer used.