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A MADE TO MEASURE APPROACH  

WITH ITS IN-DEPTH KNOWLEDGE OF THE FRENCH FORESTS, ITS UNINTERRUPTED ACCESS TO PREMIUM QUALITY OAKS, ITS PERFECT SEASONING CONDITIONS, ITS SPECIFIC TECHNIQUES IN COOPERAGE AND ITS EXPERTISE, TONNELLERIE ERMITAGE CRAFTS BARRELS OF EXCEPTION.

NOBLE ORIGINS

The group’s stave mills allow Tonnellerie Ermitage to meet 100% of its needs in-house.  In this way they are able to control the entire production process, from the felling of the tree to delivery of the barrel.

Each of the Ermitage barrels is made to order from stave wood sourced in the most renowned forests of France: Bertranges, Tronçais, and other eminent forests. 

As well as having the most prestigious of origins, the staves used by Tonnellerie Ermitage are also carefully chosen for their extremely fine grain. 

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BERTRANGESDENSE, TIGHT GRAIN

Superb tannins, purity, precision.

Bertranges is a single continuous swathe of forest covering 8000 hectares in the region of Nevers.  Unlike the other forests of Nevers, Bertranges contains mainly Petraea oaks, which in the region’s favourable conditions grow tightly and with a dense grain. The Bertranges terroir is different from the rest of the Nevers.  The trees grow more slowly, giving beautifully subtle tannins. Purity and precision are the principal characteristics of Bertranges oak.

TRONÇAIS EXTRA FINE GRAIN

Subtle oaky aromas, precise structure, powerful tannins, long ageing.

Tronçais is a single block of forest covering 10,500 hectares in the Allier region. Tronçais is renowned not only for the quality of its oaks but also for its history.  It was one of the numerous expanses of forest (like Bertranges) that were planted in the 17th century under the orders of Colbert  (a minister of  Louis XIV) to supply the oak necessary for the construction of the French naval fleet.  The variety of oak here is principally Quercus Robur. The oaks of Tronçais are exceptionally tall due to the deep rich loamy soils and excellent growing conditions (the climate has a significant oceanic influence).  They grow very high and straight, with little lateral expansion, which results in particularly tight grain.  The principal characteristics of Tronçais are the subtlety of its aromas and its very precise structure.  The tannins in Tronçais oak are more abundant compared to other French forests, meaning that wine requires a longer period in barrel to attain their full integration.

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IDEAL SEASONING CONDITIONS

Seasoning the staves naturally in the open air is indispensable: the mechanical, organoleptic and oenological qualities of the future barrel depend on it.

Time, thanks to the action of the wind, the sun and the rain, accomplishes its slow task of seasoning.  Staves used for the Ermitage barrels mature in the open air for 24 to 36 months in a natural environment in the heart of the Bertranges forest.

A UNIQUE PRE-TOASTING PROCESS

PRE-CHAUFFE VAPEUR

STEAM

To shape its barrels, Tonnellerie Ermitage 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.

The levels of toasting proposed by Tonnellerie Ermitage range from Blonde (light), through Medium, Medium Plus, up to Heavy.

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