An immersion in the heart of our winemaking process
Written by Yves Leccia, published in
Wondering what happens in the cellar after the harvest? The journey of a bunch of Patrimonio grapes begins as soon as the sorting phase is over (rot, disease, leaves...). It is at this point that our ripe grapes undergo their slow transformation and Yves takes on his winemaker's hat.
White & Rosé Wines
PRESSING : White and rosé wines follow a different path than reds. They are pressed directly after harvest to avoid contact with the skins. The Patrimonio rosé is an exception to the rule as it undergoes a maceration intended for the reds for a very short period (12 hours). This is what is known as a "rosé de saignée" !
DEBUILDING : the grapes are then cold settled (8°C) for 24 hours. The "bourbes" are heavy particles that settle at the bottom of the tank and are eliminated. The result is a clear wine.
ALCOHOLIC FERMENTATION : the clear wine is placed in a stainless steel tank, thermo-regulated at 18°C for approximately 15 to 20 days. The wine will ferment, i.e. the sugar will gradually be transformed into alcohol by the action of indigenous yeasts present in the wine. Unlike the reds, our whites and rosés do not undergo a second malolactic fermentation. This allows the wine to retain all its acidity. And what about Muscat in all this? Another exception! During the alcoholic fermentation, Muscat will undergo mutage unlike other dry whites. This name comes from the fact that the wine is made mute by adding a neutral 5% wine alcohol while the wine is still sparkling. By stopping the fermentation before it is complete, a certain amount of sugar is preserved in the wine, resulting in a sweet wine!
SUSTAINMENT : during fermentation, if necessary, a protein glue is added which will drag the suspended particles to the bottom. The wine can also be slightly sulphited to stabilise it. Then it is racked, i.e. it is transferred to another container to eliminate the lees (deposits at the bottom of the tank).
AGEING AND BOTTLING : our whites and rosés are aged for 6 months in stainless steel tanks before being filtered on plates to clarify and stabilise the wine one last time. If necessary, the different vats are blended to obtain a chosen aromatic profile. This is when the bottling begins!
DESTEMMING / CRUSHING : The red wines follow a completely different process since, after sorting, the grapes are not immediately pressed. They are first destemmed, i.e. the plant part is removed to keep only the grapes. The wine will thus gain in fruitiness and roundness. Then they are crushed, the grapes are crushed to bring out the juice.
VATTING / MACERATION : the grapes are then put in vats so that the juice (must) and the solid parts (marc made up of pips and skins) can macerate. Vatting lasts 12 to 15 days at a controlled temperature of 25°C to 30°C. This temperature is deliberately higher than for the whites in order to obtain, in addition to the primary aromas contained in the juice, the secondary aromas contained in the tannins. The colour and tannins are gradually transferred to the juice. During maceration, a cap of marc naturally rises to the surface. A daily pumping-over is carried out which consists of taking the must from the bottom and pumping it back to the top. This serves to homogenise, oxygenate and, above all, extract the interesting molecules of the fruit, which are contained in the marc and are thus regularly mixed with the must. Under the action of indigenous yeasts present in the must, the grape juice is gradually transformed into wine, this is the alcoholic fermentation.
DEVATTING : After a fortnight, the wine is drained by gravity (free-run wine) into another vat. The marc remaining at the bottom of the vat is recovered in order to be pressed. This produces the press wine which is blended with the free-run wine.
MALOLACTIC FERMENTATION : the juice obtained is placed in a thermo-regulated stainless steel tank for approximately 15 to 20 days. Micro-organisms (lactic bacteria) cause the malic acid to be transformed into milder lactic acid. Malolactic fermentation plays a natural deacidification role. In addition, this fermentation modifies the aromas of the red wine while stabilising it. As with the whites and rosés, the wine is then sulphited and racked.
AGEING : it is twice as long for the reds, which are aged for 12 months in stainless steel tanks, except for Era Ora, our first and only wine aged in oak barrels. Once the wine is bottled, the magic happens in a more or less long aging process... a wait that makes the tasting all the more moving!