Harvest 2019 - the winery
This is the time of the year that our winemaker, Emmanuel Bienvenu, is eager to capture all the hard work, preparation and character of the vintage.
Through the year, we rely on cover crops and companion planting to introduce trace elements back into soils, strictly limited use of organic copper sulphate spray when needed. It’s all about the preparation.
During vintage, we do baume tests on every vineyard – picking 100 grapes from along the vine rows – crushing them by hand and using the refractometer to check the baume or sugar which is the potential alcohol. And, check the acidity, which reduces as the sugar increases – we want that in balance.
And, we all taste the juice and grapes from each parcel, again and again. The baume and acidity should be correct, but the flavour is most important – we imagine how each unique parcel will add to the final blend.
We use a local team of pickers from Montrichard, who have gotten to know our vineyards over the years. They hand pick with secateurs into small buckets and carried in ‘hotte’ to make sure we preserve the berries and aromatics. The grapes are hand sorted on a table at the vineyard, making it to the winery with an hour of being picked.
At the winery, they are sorted again into the destemmer and chilled before entering the press, ensuring only pristine grapes are crushed and no oxidative characters develop.
Instead of the open topped concrete fermenters generally used in the region, temperature is carefully controlled in our small batch stainless steel fermenters, keeping parcels separate, so after fermentation we can assemble a harmonious blend.
Temperature controlled stainless steel fermenters allow cold stabilisation, very cool ferment and fine-tuning of the aromatic and alcoholic fermentation using natural yeasts.
We begin fermentation process at 10ºC and increased to 18ºC, usually over 10 days. After tasting again, we might chill to 8ºC to ‘stress’ the yeasts to maximise the aromatics. Over the course of a month, it was first increased to 18ºC and then 20ºC to finish aromatic fermentation. Alcoholic fermentation is completed over approximately 12 days.
For fining, we only use bentonite clay (rather than isinglass or egg whites), so the wines remain vegan throughout production.