The cellar at Château Beaurang: the maturing of the wines
The essential step: the maturing
The maturing, whether in barrels or vats, is one of the crucial stages in the wine cycle. This will have a crucial impact on the future taste of wine as well as its future ageing potential.
There are two main options for wine maturing: oak barrel and tank. Each method of maturing has its own advantages. The maturing in concrete tanks preserves the freshness of the aromas, while the oak barrels give the wine a light woody taste, so recognizable from the wines of Saint-Emilion and Bordeaux.
The manufacture of a barrel is made from wooden slats called staves held by a strapping. Several species of wood can be selected, prepared and dried. The wood will then be worked, assembled and heated before the installation of retaining circles. All these operations bring specificities and tastes to the barrel that will be transmitted to the wine during the maturing in barrels. World production is largely assured in France.
The maturing in barrels
Several kinds of wood can be used to manufacture some barrels . For example, chestnut wood, which was historically widely used for the transport of wine. However, it is no longer used since the creation of metal vats. Its wood brought to the wine strong and bitter tannins.
Very few oaks are used for wine barrels despite the fact that there are 250 varieties. Among the most common are American oak barrels that bring coconut, smoked and chocolate aromas, French oak barrels that contain more delicate aromas, such as vanilla and spices.
By putting the wine in the barrels, it will then come into contact with the wood, it is at this moment that a real exchange occurs. The oxygen penetrates and causes a very gentle oxidation of the wine which allows to soften the tannins.
When this process is in progress, it is necessary to add wine regularly to the barrel to compensate for the evaporation of the wine that we call « the angel share »: this regular work is called «ouillage» in french.
Maturing in french oak barrels
When our Château Beaurang is matured in barrels, we place the wine in our French oak barrels in order to bring a slight woody taste. Indeed, this maturing in French oak barrels confers to our wine beautiful qualities that reward our efforts with regular distinctions. This type of maturing allows the Château Beaurang to acquire a fine and harmonious woody taste.
The wines come out fruity with notes of red fruit jam, finely vanilla with soft floral touches and small spicy notes. On the palate we find a fleshy attack, freshness and supple tannins. Indeed, the barrel refines the tannins thanks to the oxygenation of the wood that allows the wine to exchange with the air and create complexity.
Stainless steel tanks
We also have stainless steel tanks composed of Carbon, Iron and Chrome ensures a recyclable and solid tank. The greatest property of stainless steel tanks is its taste neutrality and its ease of cleaning, allowing a rigorous hygiene, while promising a uniform temperature and a reduced energy consumption. Unlike oak containers, stainless steel does not directly affect the taste of the wine. These vats are the first to receive the grapes for the winemaking process that begins with the alcoholic fermentation.
The concrete vats of our winery were originally built by our second generation, José Puyol and are now used for the ageing of our Joseph d'Aragon. They are known to have excellent durability because they have a long lifespan and can maintain a stable and continuous temperature. The concrete tanks refine and stabilize the tannins of the wine thanks to the micro-oxygenation allowing a small amount of oxygen to pass through. Often the wines raised in concrete vats are intended to be consumed young.
At Château Beaurang, the cellar you can visit allows us to store our vats and oak barrels. We count 7 in stainless steel and 8 in concrete. The concrete tanks were built by hand by our second generation, so we make it a point of honour to pay tribute to him and rely on our precious tanks that constitute the heritage and soul of our property.
Whether they are made of concrete or stainless steel, our vats are the main stage of our wine production and our work as winemakers. We cherish them and maintain them like all the rest of our property, with love and passion.