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Cooperage: The Art of Barrel Making

For over two centuries

the art of barrel making has been an integral part of our culture. As the only winemakers in Burgundy to make their own barrels, at Maison Louis Latour we benefit from complete mastery of the delicate balance involved in the interaction between oak and wine.

Elegant and refined oak

is used for its influence on the wine. Meticulous control of the interaction between oak and wine allow us to highlight the specificities of each appellation's terroir. This delicate balance is achieved by the use of medium toasted barrels.

The reputation for excellence

of Louis Latour wines has been built on the judicious association of new and used barrels and on the maturing period of the wines rather than different production methods of the barrels themselves.

Cellar Aging

of the wine in barrel is the key to the future aging potential of a bottle. Oak, walnut and chestnut are the temperate climate woods richest in tannins. The content and quality of tannins varies according to the species of tree and their specific biotype. To make our barrels, we use only finely grained oak trees of at least 150 years of age from the finest forests where tree growth is slow and regular, creating perfect conditions for micro oxygenation conducive to the creation of very great wines.

The impact of oak aging

on wine is also due to slow extraction of tannins from the wood. This effect will diminish with the age of the barrel, hence the importance of the mix of new and used barrels that needs to be determined on a case-by-case basis. Over and above the oaky and vanilla aromas conferred on a wine through barrel aging, oak also brings additional smoothness to the palate caused by the modification of the tannins in the wine on contact with the wood. The length and quality of drying of the heart wood is essential, which is why we favour a long drying period in the open air to remove all impurities from the wood.

Oak Barrel Aging

is a choice made after serious reflection on the nature of the terroir, the level of the appellation, and the style of the particular vintage. Our white Grand Crus are aged exclusively in new oak barrels, while our red Grand Crus are aged only between a third and half in new barrels, depending on the origin of the wines, and each appellation is considered individually.