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FERMENTATION

The wines are all fermented in the same way in four distinct phases, each equally important, the aim being to reveal the inherent nature of the fruit. The wine is kept separate right up to bottling.

First, there is an aqueous cold soaking. At 10-14°C, the grape bunches are gently de-stemmed into open vats. The cool, intact berries (no stems) are soaked in their own juice (no alcohol yet) for 5-7 days, building up inside the berries wonderful, pure flavours and aromas.

Second, there is a spontaneous alcoholic fermentation with wild yeast for 5-7 days. The must is plunged by hand twice a day. There is no pumping over, no addition of enzymes, yeast food or other substances, and seldom any addition of acid (harvesting early helps to retain enough natural acid). The temperature rises to about 33°C.

Third, the fermented must macerates on skins in the presence of alcohol for 5-7 days.

Fourth, the skins are basket-pressed and combined with the free-run wine for oak maturation.