Thursday, April 11, 2019

Portes Ouvertes-Medoc - Tonnellerie Nadalie - Ludon-Medoc

A visit through the Tonnellerie Nadalie - Cooperage

Once a year, wine properties in the Medoc region open their doors for free visits during a particular weekend in the Spring.  I look forward to this weekend as it's a wonderful opportunity to visit several properties and learn about some that I'm not as familar with.  This year, the Tonnellerie (Cooperage) Nadalie was also open and welcoming visitors to learn how wine barrels are made.

This family run enterprise since 1902 demonstrates it's love and passion for the business and now exports barrels all over the world!  Our tour began outside - with their fascinating giant barrel made entirely with wine corks for the Bordeaux Fete du Vin - 2016.  The images on the barrels are created solely from the wine stain on the ends of the corks.  Truly a marvel to see!

Nadalie makes their barrels from high quality French oak, sourced from the forests in the middle of France.  Trees are harvested with pieces are cut into long slats and are brought to the property where they are continually sprayed/rinsed, and exposed to the sun for 2 years before the wood will be used to make a barrel.
The tour is very fascinating as it walks you step by step through the entire process from the wood cut from the tree itself, to being cut & formed into barrel slats, forming and toasting of the barrel and finally to all the finishing processes before it finally ships it out. Here's a short video of adjusting the rings during the toasting process.

Nadalie prides itself on being family run and personal.  Each order is customized for the individual client.  

These photos show some of the process of toasting the wood.  Each vineyard can choose how much the wood is toasted - light, medium or dark - all adding to the flavor of the wine as it ages in the barrel.
The following videos and photos show how the ends of the barrels are inserted.  The whole barrel is made without any glue or sealant.  The process is fascinating to watch.
Finally, the barrel is cleaned, sanded, polished and the outer rings are changed out for a more finished look.  For each order, the wine property has an option of engraving/laser burning their name, label and barrel specifications onto the end of the barrel, truly creating a beautiful customized product all ready for the wine.
 Barrels are protected and packaged for shipping.

Just on this day alone, - we read shipping labels with orders intended for Chili, Argentina, US Sonoma Valley, Australia, South Africa & other areas in France.

I highly recommend this tour.  I have had the luxury of taking this tour many times with my river cruise clients.  This particular weekend, they were open with free tours but they are regularly open during the week (Monday-Friday) -and welcome morning visits by reservation starting at 12,50 euros/person for a tour and wine tasting.  (Yes, one of the family members also owns her own vineyard nearby !)

Feel free to check out more information about them on their website:  Tonnellerie Nadalie

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