The grapes arrive at the cellar
As soon as the grapes arrive, in small hoppers, it’s the law of gravity which governs the principal steps of the vinification process. At this stage, it enables the clusters of grapes to be kept whole until they’ve been crushed and/or destemmed, thus avoiding any risk of oxidation.
Pumping-over and breaking up the cap
These are the two main operations carried out during the vinification of our wines. Their frequency will vary according to the appellation. They will be repeated several times a day for our Châteauneuf du Pape wines in order to obtain maximum extraction of the pigments and tannins; for our Côtes du Rhônes, which we want above all to be fruity and light, these operations will not be done so frequently.
Airing and temperature control
In order to guarantee that the fermentation takes place satisfactorily, we carry out one aeration of our wines per day during the first week of vatting. The temperature of each of the vats is regulated in order to prevent any overheating during the fermentation.
When the alcoholic fermentation is finished, we leave the juice and the solid matter (skins, pips or stalks, in some cases) to macerate together for several days. We run off the juice from the vat earlier or later, depending on the appellation: earlier (after about a fortnight) for the Côte du Rhône wines, in which we’re looking for freshness; later (after 21 to 30 days) for the Châteauneuf du Papes. Then it’s time to empty the vats, which means removing the solid matter remaining after the free-run wine has been drawn off. This solid matter will be pressed in order to obtain the juice which it still contains.
Filling the barrels and tanks
The grape juice has now become wine and is transferred into barrels or vats. For some of our wines, like our white Jas de Bressy in particular, we carry out this operation before the fermentation, as soon as the grapes have been pressed on arrival at the cellar. The Côtes du Rhônes are matured in concrete tanks. Our traditional Châteauneuf du Pape wines are matured for 12 months in wooden vats. The Cuvée Fines Roches and red Jas de Bressy are matured in wooden vats and 12 to 18-month casks.
Throughout the period of maturation, the wood in which we have placed our wines will “consume” a small part of their volume, known as the “angels’ share”.
This means that any vessel used to contain wine must be kept completely full in order to protect the wine against oxidation. In this way, no pocket of air will be allowed to form. To do this, we must regularly top up the level with the same wine as the cask or the vat contains.
After so many months of passion and patience, our wines are at last ready to be bottled. This final operation, carried out at the estate, enables us to control all the stages and take no chances in order to bring you the wine of our passion. The red and rosé Côtes du Rhônes and the white Châteauneuf du Papes are ready to drink as soon as they have been bottled. For the red Châteauneuf du Papes, and particularly the Cuvée Fines Roches and the red Jas de Bressy, we use bottle maturing for at least one year and maybe even as much as 3 to 4 years. This bottle maturing enables the wine to assimilate better its maturation in casks and to reveal fully the terroir of Châteauneuf du Pape.