wood : sorting & drying
Stave Making - From Tree to The Rough Stave
This is an essential step in the long chain of preparation, ending in an oak cask or barrel. Trees are selected, felled and cut into undressed lengths of wood then formed into rough staves.
CADUS only buy French oak as defined by the French Coopers Association to its suppliers.
French Coopers Association : www.tonneliersdefrance.fr
Sorting & Selecting Rough Staves
Every day a team of coopers is responsible for sorting and choosing only the best quality rough staves from the different forest origins. In conformity with the specifications of the different products being made, a second selection is then carried out. The staves are sorted by forest origin and type of grain by the coopers actually making the final products.
Oak wood origin and traceability procedures are controlled each year by the company's External Auditor and are subject to an official Auditor's Report.
Drying and Stabilizing - The Art of Letting Nature Do its Work
There are several methods of stabilizing rough staves.
CADUS prefers to use a long and natural drying period of at least 30 months storage.
The Burgundy region's semi-continental climate, and in particular the morning mists in the summer months, mean that the drying and stabilizing protocol can be 100% natural. The company does not use spraying or immersion techniques, nor does it force the stabilization process.
The methods used by CADUS ensure that the tannins in the oak oxidizes slowly and in a controlled manner. Any undesirable tannins and ellagitannins are efficiently drained off during this long process.
This method or preparing and maturing the wood has been used successfully in the industry for many centuries.
The wood drying and maturing procedures are controlled each year by the company's External Auditor and are subject to an official Auditor's Report.
Production - Art and Method
Raising and heating procedures are carried out using oak wood fires, based on 2 measurable parameters: temperature and duration.
The toasting pots use specific amounts of oak off-cuts and the process is controlled for each unit by a ventilator.
The time taken to raise a barrel is strictly controlled.
This time-honored method combines the mechanical process of forming the staves with the future barrel or cask's first exposure to toasting temperatures.
This initial boost of energy prepares the surface of the oak and improves the outcome of the final toasting process and enhances the deep extraction of stable macromolecules.
Final toasting is also strictly time controlled and regulated, following precise specifications which ensure product regularity and consistency. It has taken decades of hard work, self-questioning, research and development to arrive at the procedures now used.
The detailed protocol, however, is kept secret by CADUS and is never divulged.
At all stages CADUS involved and took precious advice from specialists and professionals from the wine industry, which enabled the company to develop the toasting procedures now proposed to customers.
Toasting empty, unfinished wooden-barrels is not just a skilled process, it is an art.
Just as a Chef manages and controls the quality of produce, cooking temperatures and times (see the Products sheets), coopers use protocols methodically tried and tested over time and based on experience.
Toasting develops a large palette of aromas. The combination of fire, heat and water affect the chemical composition of the oak and produces new sensory elements. The thermal degradation of the wood's glucid (cellulose and hemicellulose) and polyphenolic (lignin and tannin) components, liberates aromatic molecules giving the wine its particular colour and flavour.
Oaks of different origins have different aromatic potentials and require different types of toasting to achieve an acceptable alliance between wood and wine.
Several different types of toasting are available to complement and enhance the aromatic expressions and styles looked for in a particular wine and specified by the winemaker.
The traditional use of a flaming pile of oak cut-offs still forms the basis of the toasting process. The variants and particularities of the process, however, remain a strictly guarded professional secret. Specialists and professionals from the wine industry were involved at all stages to give advice and it has taken more than 15 years of hard work, self-questioning, research and development to arrive at the procedures Cadus now uses.
The Maillard reaction
The Maillard chemical reaction forms an integral and essential part of our trade at the stage when the wooden barrel is charred or toasted.
Our professional philosophy is based on having adequate skills and technical know-how to master all stages of the processes and procedures of our trade, to develop them and improve their quality and the quality of the end products we produce. It is essential, therefore, that we fully understand all the details of the workings of the chemical reactions that take place during this process.
'L' for « Leveraged » : a few drops of water make all the difference.
Enhanced Maillard reaction:
From a very old, ancestral method of optimising the conditions for charring and toasting wooden-barrels Cadus has developed a protocol which provides more uniform and homogeneous sensorial results. To do this the cooper re-visited some of the fundamental elements and skills of French barrel-making, relying on the pluridisciplinary knowledge acquired in recent years.
The PUR® protocol
Controlling the natural potential of oak and the undesirable effects of barrel toasting.
If the influence of "new-barrel" flavours makes tasting en primeur too confusing or determining the wine's oenological potential too difficult, then a radical and global solution is required.
The company has worked for over 15 years with 4 Professional Stave Makers linked to the founders, and another based in Burgundy. This provides the company with a regular supply of homogeneous, quality controlled rough staves.
In 2013, one of the main independent French stave mill became one of the main shareholders of the cooperage. This has secured the supply of French oak in quality and quantity.