Selection of oak and cherry, seasoning, toasting and coopering of barrels.
Every autumn, when leaves begin falling to the ground, our coopers are on hand to select the finest, tight –grain white oak Quercus Robur and Quercus Petraea(Sessiliflora) from the best Bulgarian forests in Old mountain.
The extremes of climate in these high altitude regions and the unique mineral content of the soil contribute to slow growth and thus produce a specific type of oak with a high consistency of grain and tannin content.
Very fine grain oak for our line ”Excellium”
Fine grain oak for our line ”Classique”
1,5 to 2mm
This selection is the initial phase that essentially determines the quality of our end product.
Research has proved that the specific type of oak which grows in Bulgaria has similar qualities to the Allier and Limousine type, used for the barrels of the finest wine in the world.
The wild cherry Prunus Avium grow quickly and scattered in the forests in Bulgaria. Reach a height to 20-25 m and live to 100 years approx.
The cherry wood, in particular, can be used to contribute to the complexity of wine, by significantly increasing the cherry and red fruit notes to the wine, as well as increase the overall acceptance of the wine.
Studies have shown that cherry wood promotes a more oxidative environment for the wine, which suggests a shorter aging period. Wines aged in cherry barrels have the highest levels of color intensity compared to wines aged in other conditions.
The second fundamental stage in the selection of wood is the natural seasoning. This is the stage which allows the wood to reach its perfect chemical and physical stabilisation in the structure.
The logs are hand split along the grain of the wood . After splitting and surfacing, the staves are stored in the open where they drynaturally at least 24 months in order to attain proper seasoning. During this slow process left at the mercy of the weather, they age and lose their greener and more rustic tannins.
The exceptional site in the village of Trudovetz offers the ideal climatic conditions for the wood – mild Mediterranean climate with hot summer , harsh winter, plenty of wind, cool air and clean mountain rain. All this parameters favour the ageing of our wood.
During the aging process, the development of sugars and acids is monitored.
Coopering of barrels
After aging, the staves are formed by machines into the proper shape and form for barrel assembly. After they are cut to the proper length, they are tapered at each end and beveled. Then they are planed on the outside, slightly hollowed on the inside and jointed by high precision.
After being inspected and selected, the staves are given to a cooper for assembly. At this essential stage of the manufacturing process, the handwork begins. Our craftsmen with irreplaceable experience and, above all, appreciation for work well done now adds their personal touch. The sharp-eyed cooper selects his staves, setting aside those that do not suit him. Then he assembles the staves inside a metal hoop that serves as the assembly jig. This operation, so spectacular in its speed and precision, is what the cooper calls the "mise en rose" or "raising the barrel".
It is important for Valoga to provide you with barrels that complement the quality and style of your wine.
A time – consuming and slow toasting method allows us to develop distinctive toast levels so as to match the types of wine that are aged in Valoga barrels in a more suitable manner. Toast levels are not only indicated by the surface colour of the oak, but more importantly, by the depth of the colour.
During this essential stage we make penetration of the heat in the heart of the staves and this lead to extraction of the polyphenols responsible for the freshy and rounded nature of the wine
In accordance with this specific distinction, our barrels are with four toasting levels:
- LIGHT TOASTING(LT)- highlights the fruity aromas
- MEDIUM TOASTING(MT) - fruity flavours are dominant
- MEDIUM PLUS TOASTING(MT+) - the fruity flavours blend with spicy and toasted flavours
- HEAVY TOASTING(HT) - spicy and toasted flavours are dominant