Champagne Charlier & Fils has a rare attraction that is now the only one of its kind in Champagne: we store all our range in large-capacity oak barrels that we call “foudres de chêne”.
We understand the incredible alchemy that is created between wood and wine. That’s why we age all our cuvées in oak casks for a minimum of 8 months, or several years for our reserve wines and Champenois spirits (Ratafia, Vieille Fine and Vieux Marc).
The oak cask adds a noble, elegant touch to the champagne: although the big champagne houses reserve them for their exceptional cuvées, we use them for all of our production!
For champagne wine, the oak cask’s permeability gently reveals the wine’s own aromas. Indeed, the wines benefit from a slow, natural micro-oxygenation process which helps them to reach their full potential, as oak is the only material that lets the wine breathe. The use of old casks avoids the aromatisation that would be caused by new wood. The wood’s aromatic effects thus exalt the subtle nuances of the champagne by bringing a wonderful complexity that releases its extraordinary flavours.
The cask room or “foudrerie” comprises 57 enormous barrels side by side, some of which are hand-carved and have been in our care for several generations. These casks represent the superior quality of our cuvées and require rigorous work in the cellar. At each stage of the vinification process, we have to ensure that the barrel is totally sealed to avoid losing the wine inside. In addition, the cellarmaster must enter each barrel through a tiny door in order to remove the acidity that naturally clings to their inner walls. All this special care enables us to keep them in use for many years.