Joyful and generous wines
My aim is to make wines that are to be shared, for people who enjoy drinking wine, who are looking for a generous and pleasant wine. The achieve this, we try to produce stable wines in the most natural way possible. We take risks in our vinification methods, but it is very important for us that the wines be easily approachable, without any major faults, and with a controlled level of volatile acidity and reduction.
I think that the feeling you get in your mouth is very important: the texture of the wine, its silkiness or velvety touch. I like the salinity on the palate that brings a sharp minerality, a perfect match with fine cuisine. I am looking for finishes that reflect the wine’s terroir as authentically as possible. It is essential for the geology to come out in each wine, be it granite, limestone or white clay. The grape variety is actually less important because it simply acts as a vector for the terroir.
Biodynamics: the cornerstone to our farming methods
In order to continue improving our soils and plants, in 1998 we carried out our first biodynamic trials. By the second year we were already surprised and impressed by the results, having seen a great rise in the quantity of organic matter, both in the flora and fauna. For almost twenty years now, we have been following the four seasons using this approach. The aim of biodynamic farming is to mirror the plant throughout the year by carrying out specific, tailored tasks: in the autumn, this means the decomposition of organic matter; in the spring, it is its re-activation; then we guide the metamorphosis of this organic matter through the leaves, the sap, the flowers and the fruit. Our goal is to accompany these different steps using preparations such as horn manure, horn silica, equisetum (horsetail), herbal infusions, etc.
Our method: semi-carbonic vinification
We use the most natural methods possible to vinify our wines: using natural yeasts, no sulphur, no enzymes and no chemical additives. The wooden vats are cleaned thoroughly beforehand, and they are scrubbed with marc de Bourgogne to stimulate the yeasts. During the harvest, which is all done by hand and placed in small containers, we sort the grapes meticulously in order not to damage them during their journey to the winery. For our red wines, we carry out a semi-carbonic maceration, using a very precise method that we have perfected over three generations. The basic principle is to create a multi-layered ‘cake’ built up of of alternate layers of whole clusters and destemmed grapes. The latter will produce the first juice, which will flow out, start fermenting, and thus activate the natural yeasts (with the sugars), which gives the body and smoothness that we are looking for in our wines. At the same time, because the vat is saturated with CO2, an intracellular fermentation also takes place, which brings the elegant floral aromas (rose and peony) that are typical of pinot noir. Then, after four or five days, we do a very light pumping over as well as a punching down of the cap to a depth of around twenty centimetres. The aim of this is to release the sugars and yeasts; that’s the starting signal for the fermentation, which we want to be long so that we can accompany it serenely.
All our red wines are then matured in barrels or wooden vats. We do not touch the wine until Easter. We do the racking when the moon is both waning and descending, in order for the wine to be as calm as possible. This is done in order to avoid having to filter the wines. Then they are assembled in one vat per cuvee and left to rest for two full moons. Finally, we bottle four times a year: once in April for the Cuvée 910; once in July for some cuvées, if it has been hot and the wines are tasting well; once before the harvest and a final one in December for the magnums and jeroboams of the Cuvée Auguste. Unless absolutely necessary, we do not add any SO2 to the reds before bottling.
The white wines are matured in large vats in order to maintain their freshness and the CO2 level and to avoid having any oaky overtones, which we are not looking for in our wines.