The N.T. Bois Stave Mill
NT BOIS stave mill in Champagne is the sister company to Tonnellerie de MERCUREY. Both entities are owned by Nicolas Tarteret. NT BOIS is the fifth largest stave mill in France, employs 48 people, and annually purchases 35,000 cubic meters of standing trees. Nicholas Tarteret oversees the sourcing of his oak from both the center and northeastern regions of France.
The relationship between NT BOIS Tonnellerie de MERCUREY guarantees aspects of the oak sourcing, aging, and stave selection necessary to produce the very highest quality French oak Burgundy barrels.
Nicolas Tarteret was raised in the wood business. His father Phillipe owned one of the largest hardwood mills in France. The Tarteret family continues to own and operate this major sawmill today. In 1990, Nicolas and his wife Carole built NT BOIS as a dedicated stave-splitting mill at Aix-en-Othe in Champagne. Two years later, they created Tonnellerie de MERCUREY in Burgundy.
50% of NT BOIS stave production goes to Tonnellerie de MERCUREY; the remaining half is sold to other cooperages. Tonnellerie de MERCUREY obtains 100% of their oak from NT BOIS. Every oak stave used in a barrel can be traced back to its original lot. This powerful vertical integration is unique among Burgundy coopers.
Nicolas understands oak origins but doesn’t believe they accurately define quality. A trip into the woods with Nicolas explains his oak philosophy when looking at the end cut of a felled log, one can find notable quality differences within a single log. Often the northern side of the tree yields darker colored wood with earthy aromas while the southern side may be lighter colored with aromas of fresh cut oak.
Within a forest, oak trees can be culled from rocky hillsides or swales with poor drainage, and each location can yield varying oak qualities. By choosing to grade oak according to guidelines of color, grain, and aroma across all forest origins, NT BOIS provides consistent stave profiles to Tonnellerie de MERCUREY, leading to greater barrel to barrel consistency for clients.
After harvesting, the selected logs are trucked to NT BOIS for on-site inspection. Logs that pass inspection are processed using a mix of human and automated grading techniques that sort the staves for the highest yield according to their end usage. Nicolas Tarteret has developed an “assemblage” technique with wine staves at NT BOIS to ensure a reproducible high quality mix for de MERCUREY barrels. Staves that do not meet strict grain and color guidelines are set aside for Cognac staves.
Sorted and blended raw staves are then seasoned naturally for either two or three winters at the NT BOIS ageing park in Champagne. Aged staves are inspected, planed, jointed, and graded at NT BOIS before shipment to Tonnellerie de MERCUREY in Burgundy for coopering.
NT BOIS was the first stave mill in France to be PEFC certified. This independent third party certification is your assurance that all NT BOIS French oak staves and heading are sourced from forests that are sustainably managed. The NT BOIS relationship with Tonnellerie de MERCUREY is a major foundation that provides excellent oak quality, traceability, and consistency.