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At each stage in manufacturing, SEGUIN MOREAU challenges, analyses and improves its techniques to supply exceptional products.
At our stave mills, all the timber is cored to take wood chip samples that are then sent to our in-house laboratory in Merpins for analysis (oenological profile). This means that as soon as the wood enters our rough stave maturation area, the wood is identified and classified to determine its future use.
PROACTIVE WOOD MATURATION
All of the rough staves that enter the Cognac wood maturation area undergo the proactive maturation process perfected by the cooperage in the 1980s. This is a unique, exclusive process consisting of slowly and gradually guiding the wood drying process. The aim is to allow the oak to develop chemically and organoleptically, in order to achieve maximum aromatic and phenolic potential. Whilst nature’s unpredictable behaviour helped to create the rough staves, it is down to SEGUIN MOREAU to ensure a scientific understanding of natural drying. We therefore use controlled curing via drying in the open air.
ICÔNE: WOOD’S OENOLOGICAL POTENTIAL
We have now spent twenty years working to control the chemical variability of oak, via a specific research programme known as ICÔNE. We are committed to studying the keys to the process of maturation in wood: the correlation between the chemical composition of oak and its organoleptic impact on the wine it is maturing. Thus was born the concept of wood’s ‘oenological potential’ and the ICÔNE selection process.
BOUSINAGE: OENOLOGICAL TOASTING
Thanks to work conducted by its researchers, since 1989 SEGUIN MOREAU has been scientifically identifying the substances resulting from the toasting process. The relationship between wood toasting time, intensity, and changes to the outer layers on the inside of staves have been widely studied. By varying the toasting time and intensity, SEGUIN MOREAU has been able to define specific toasting profiles: notes of oak, vanilla, dried nuts and toasted or smoked almonds mingle with the wines, depending on the winemaking objectives. From this point onwards, the cooperage profession as a whole began differentiating between toasting for mechanical tightening purposes and oenological toasting, known as ‘bousinage’. Bousinage is therefore an operation controlled by expert coopers within the specific framework of the toasting profile selected by our clients.
Developed with the University Institute of Vine and Wine (Dijon), this process involves saturating the oak with water in order to reduce the presence of soluble tannins and lessen their impact. The cooper then performs a quick tightening toast followed by an oenological toast, which is longer, gentler and more penetrating than a traditional toast due to the evaporation of the excess water in the oak. This process reduces the tannin content of the wood and any overly smoky or toasted notes. It is ideal for winemakers seeking delicate vanilla and soft spice notes and moderate tannins whilst respecting the wine’s original fruit.
STEAM TIGHTENING OF LARGE CONTAINERS
The steam tightening unit was installed recently at the Merpins site and allows more gentle heating for large containers of up to 80hL. Once assembled, the large container is placed in the steam unit for several hours to bend the staves. It is then taken directly to the large containers workshop to be toasted around a brazier.
OENOFIRST & OENOFINISHER
Created and patented by SEGUIN MOREAU, the OENOFIRST and OENOFINISHER ranges are briquettes of compacted chips. This presentation format was dreamt up by our teams and offers numerous benefits:
they weigh 2 kg so can be easily handled by a single operator;
compacting reduces clutter, a vital factor for transport, and above all limits wood dust inhalation.
Finally, these products are based on recipes designed to achieve a precise organoleptic profile. SEGUIN MOREAU’s expertise in concentrated form!
HATCHES FLUSH WITH THE BOTTOM HEAD
This accessory is available on our vats, and is sandwiched in thanks to its U frame, avoiding the need for screws or bolts. Placed flush with the bottom head, this positioning makes racking easier as there is no rim, and stops the operator from having to go inside the vat, an additional safety factor to benefit their health.
This process consists of creating a network of U-shaped grooves on the inner side of the oak barrel. The inside of the staves is grooved. This increased contact surface helps to intensify the phenomena of wood-wine exchange. This process also creates a toasting gradient that increases aromatic complexity. The vanilla and pastry aromas characteristic of light toast levels mingle with caramel and roasted notes from heavier toasts.
FIND OUT MORE
Whether cognac, whisky or brandy, our barrels for spirits are made at our craft cooperage in Cognac.