Bruni Erben:Using wood in your wine

One Stave or two, in how many litres of wine and for how long? This is a testing question to work out when looking at the wide offering of the Nobile Range from Laffort with different toasting levels and wood types available. Building on the previous article last month, the use of tannins is something that can elevate wines to the next level when looking at stability, aroma and quality. Whites, Rose and sparkling wines can benefit from targeted tannin, improving against oxidation and boosting flavour profile as well as the red wines.

Staves have found a strong place in the wine making market, especially the thicker staves (18mm) that are closest to the staves used in barrel making. The extraction rates are slower than for chips, however due to the density of wood, the concentrations and overall stability of compounds extracted is longer and much more in keeping with the use of barrels. In terms of dosing levels, it is difficult to determine a precise value as it is very dependent on wine style. 

As a general guide, Laffort recommend dosage, dependent on the stave size used. For example, a 7mm size has 2 to 4 staves/hL for three to six months, whereas an 18mm stave only one to three staves but for four to ten months. Ultimately it comes down to the winemaker to outline clear olfactory goals for the wine concerned. Then using the best possible information available, the wine maker should outline the qualities that suit the wine style such as figure 3, making sure to taste the wine as it is developing with wood contact and not be overwhelmed by initial extraction of the compounds, since these will develop and mature with the wine. 

Nobile range

The Nobile range is carefully selected for their oenological quality, all oak lots are “barrel quality” and are subject to strict traceability standards. Thanks to the knowledge of the aromatic potential of oak from different origins (Quercus Petraea, Quercus Robur, Quercus alba), the wood is selected to limit the natural variability and ensure reproducibility.

The wood has a maturation phase for a minimum period of 24 months in the open air. Nobile® controls the maturation by monitoring the evolution of wood compounds responsible for the enological potential of each product.

Precision technology

 As a producer of wood for use in oenology, Nobile® boasts technologically advanced production equipment. Extremely delicate, the heating operations are carried out by hot air convection, providing homogeneously heated products from the surface through to the centre, or by other specific methods for reproducing heated gradients comparable to barrel toasting. Experience and control of the release of volatile compounds from the wood, and experience and control of heating techniques can ensure aromatic and tannic reproducibility for elaborate flavour profiles.

Toasting process

Homogeneous toasting: Toasting program dedicated to reproducing complex aromatic expression.

Double toasting: The precise selection of oak combined with double toasting achieves a good balance between the ellagitannins and polysaccharides naturally present in oak, developing an aromatic complexity similar to barrel ageing. 

Gradient toasting: Surface heating process which creates a heating gradient identical to a traditional barrel.

Soft oak : Exclusive to the Nobile® 18mm range, the “Soft Oak” method is used to optimise the toasting process of the staves. This pre-heating program contributes to the creation of unique characteristics

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