Pressing takes place in two hydraulic, open-cage presses using uncrushed grapes. The cycles are long and gentle, (lasting around 3 hours). The purpose is to extract the juices, low in solid matter, as gently as possible.
Cold Settling and Barrelling
The musts are then cooled if necessary in a thermoregulated, stainless steel tank at around 12°C, in order to encourage settling and to avoid any temperature excess during fermentation. Twenty-four hours later, the grape juice is run off separating it from the thick sediment. This juice is directly transferred to the cellar and put into new or recent barrels depending on the cuvée.
Fermentation begins spontaneously 4 to 6 days later without the addition of selected yeast.
As the cellars are cool, the fermentation temperature does not exceed 22/24°C. It usually takes about 3 months. Progress is monitored twice a week, barrel by barrel, during this period.
When the alcoholic fermentation is over, the wine is dry, i.e. it contains less than 2 g/l residual sugar.
Between the end of the alcoholic fermentation and the start of malolactic fermentation, and following the tasting of the barrels, the lees are stirred on cycles determined according to the vintage and cuvée in order to preserve the quality of the fruit and the elegance of the wines. Decisions are taken barrel by barrel.
Malolactic fermentation usually begins during the month of January and ends in May.
The first racking usually takes place in July, retaining the fine lees. The wines are assembled in vats and immediately transferred to older barrels in the cooler, maturing cellar.
The length of ageing depends on the vintage, some will be bottled 18 months later in the spring and the rest in the summer after 22 months.
Before bottling, the wines are usually racked for clarity a second time. They are then laboratory tested and tasted before fining. Usually, a small quantity of bentonite is added and removed 5 weeks later. The wines are then returned to vats ready for bottling.
Red wine vinification
Whilst eliminating the stalks which occasionally impart a herbaceous flavour to the wine, we try to capture the feel of whole lunch fermentation. The aim is to get the maximum number of whole berries into the vats in order to extract the full fruit flavour and to gradually liberate their juice ensuring a slow, regular fermentation and gentle extraction of tannins.
After sorting, the grapes are transferred to a de-stemmer, taking particular care not to damage the berries, and from there to the vats by means of a conveyor belt.
We use thermoregulated, insulated, stainless steel vats, cylindrical in shape, and individually adjusted for each wine, (25 to 60 hl). The grapes are immediately cooled to 12° to 15°C.
Fermentation begins spontaneously and slowly after macerating for between 4 to 6 days. It usually lasts roughly 10 days during which time the cap is punched down in each vat once or twice a day.
The wines are devatted and pressed 15 to 20 days after maceration, the decision dependent on the daily tasting of each wine in order to evaluate the level of extraction and the quality of the tannins.
Pressing out is swift and very gentle as all the press wines are added to the free run wines.
They are then kept in vats for one to two weeks to allow the sediment not wanted during maturation to settle.
The wine is transferred to barrels by gravity. The proportion of new barrels is roughly one third depending on the appellation.
Malolactic fermentation usually begins quite late on our Estate, between March and May.
The wines are first racked after malolactic fermentation ,between June and September, and thenreturned to their original barrels. Usually, they are racked a second time as clear as possible, then bottled after blending in vats.
As with the whites, bottling is scheduled for the spring for certain wines (after maturing for 20 months), or in summer for the others (22 months), determined by tasting.