Working closely with our expert growers and qualified viticulturists, it’s our duty to process these carefully grown and hand sorted grapes (at the vine), with great care and minimal intervention. It is no secret that healthy grapes make good and healthy wine, but a great wine, is one that is allowed to express the magical complexities of its own vineyard site.
We crush and de-stem all our grapes, prefering not to use any stems in the fermentation of our Syrah, or whole bunch press our Viognier, regarding stems as an inedible fruit that can only reduce colour and impart green, herbaceous (and potentially astringent) flavours in the resulting wine.
We do however inoculate our ‘musts’ with cultured Rhone strains of yeast, in order to avoid any rogue yeast fermentation or off flavours, and we also adjust the total acidity of our wines, depending on the vintage, with additions of tartaric acid. The addition of sulphur during crush, once during ageing, and just prior to bottling, is also practiced in order to prevent any bacterial spoilage and allow the wine to age gracefully in bottle. Wine-making has existed since the birth of civilized man (some 6-8,000 years), and we believe that if the Romans possessed the modern technology to rid their fermenting vats of stems by 100%, they would have, and that their use of sulphur and its anti-bacterial properties in the winery was already understood. After all, the earths crust also contains 0.5% of sulphur and this is therefore one of the many trace minerals we find all around us in our day to day life and diet.
Fermentation takes place in both open and closed stainless steel vats. Pump-overs take place 3 times a day during alcoholic fermentation for the Syrah with the occasional “délestage” to blow off any reductive flavours, aerate the ‘must’ and encourage the yeast stimulation. Once the alcoholic fermentation has finished, we prepare the wines for malolactic fermentation (MLF) for which we inoculate. MLF of the Syrah takes place in large stainless steel tanks before being transferred to barrel for maturation from between 18-30 months depending on the quality level of the wine.
Fermentation takes place in both barrel and closed stainless steel tanks, following a 48 hour settling in stainless steel tank. The wines are racked once during maturation in barrel, and once prior to bottling. We also practice “batonnage” or stirring of the lees on our Viognier, once a week for 4-6 months during barrel ageing. Our view on new oak barrels is that whilst they are nice to possess, the finished wine can sometimes be masked to its detriment and the fruit of the vine, or as Franck Grux of Olivier Leflaive once mentioned, “la sève de la vigne” will be eclipsed. When the alcoholic fermentation has finished, we prepare the wines for malolactic fermentation (MLF) for which we inoculate. MLF takes place in barrel or tank, and in some vintages we prefer not to allow MLF on the tank portion of Viognier in order to retain greater freshness and acidity in the final wine. Wines remain in barrel for ageing between 8-10 months.
In any given vintage we aim to showcase both the character of the grape and it’s harmony with the personality and provenance of its ‘terroir’. To this end, we forever aspire to capturing the essence of our soils and climate, in making fine wines that complement fine dining.