Our old vines in Cramant face south-east and are blessed with an exceptional terroir. They are aged between 48 and over 75 years old. Their deep root system and the diversity of the old stocks contribute to the complexity of the wine.
Like 2003, 2004 was a viticultural year full of extremes.
The beginning of the year was quiet, with no frosts. The bunch-setting was good, perhaps too good. After the severe frosts of the previous year, it was to be expected: Having produced very little in 2003, the vines had made reserves for 2004.
Flowering began around 5th June. On 10th June, with flowering at its height, a hailstorm fell on Vertus: green harvesting coming from the sky... Depending on the vineyard, damage ranged from one out of two bunches to one out of ten with some wounds on the wood. Our grands crus (Cramant, Avize, Oger) escaped undamaged.
Then, each week, a much localised storm caused damage here and there.
On 14th July, the very sensitive Chardonnays were attacked by powdery mildew, and we reacted. However, at harvest time, certain bunches were eliminated. From 15th August onwards, there was a lot of water and the grapes began to swell, but in our vineyards, the grass limited this dilution. Then the superb September sun allowed us to reach calmly a high degree of maturity. From 25th September to 7th October, the harvest was long as we strove to pick each vineyard plot in a perfect state of maturity.
The result: a perfectly healthy crop, abundant AND of high quality (we come from Champagne...).
Vinification and maturation
The natural alcoholic fermentation (natural yeast) and the malolactic fermentation begin spontaneously in our casks and our wooden vats. The wines are left on their natural lees for nearly a year and undergo gentle bâtonnages, but no filtering or fining. If the year merits it, this cuvée will be bottled in July as a vintage.
No need to blend, this is a single vineyard.
Then the bottles are then taken down into the coolness of our cellars, where the second fermentation and the maturation 'on laths' quietly take place over a period of a minimum of 5 years. Each bottle is disgorged manually 6 months before being marketed.
The dosage of the 2005 and 2006 vintages is very low (only 2 grams per litre).