SEGUIN MOREAU’s newest barrel is composed of a fine grain French oak body and acacia wood heads.
The barrel Fraîcheur, or Freshness, integrates the two wood species so as to enhance aromatic delicacy in white wines. Fraîcheur reduces toasty and woody aromas, while maintaining vitality and increasing citrus flavors. The acacia (Robinia pseudoacacia) helps to:
- Respect and preserve the wine’s freshness, with a reduction in the contribution of whiskey lactone (cis and tran) and ellagic tannins, compounds that are sometimes involved in contributing excessive wood impact, as well as strong aromas of coconut, earth or leather.
- Contribute light and subtle notes of lime and white flowers, adding structure and complexity to the wine.
The acacia species’ true name is “black locust,” and produces trees with hard, resistant wood with a dense grain. It was imported from North American to Europe by Jean Robin, an arborist for kings Henry III and Louis XIII, who planted the first trees in Paris in 1601.
The Fraîcheur barrel is the result of extensive laboratory research and several years of cellar trials. It undergoes a specific coopering process: the AQUAFLEX process. The barrel is immersed in hot water for the bending and shaping, before toasting. Due to the high humidity of the staves, the physical and chemical transformations during toasting differ significantly from when toasting dry wood.
Part of the thermal energy is used to evaporate the excess water absorbed during the soaking process resulting in a temporarily lower toasting temperature and a slower but much deeper penetration of the toast into the wood. This process diminishes the tannic structure of the oak and lessens the formation of the molecules that contribute to the grilled/smoky characteristics of traditional dry oak toasting.
Fraîcheur is ideally suited for white grapes, such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Viognier, Marsanne, and Roussanne. Aging on lees for 5 to 8 months after fermentation is suggested, and limited racking only at the end is recommended to prevent premature oxidation.
For more details, please see the Fraîcheur pdf.