Several winemaking techniques are implemented at the winery. For the rosé wines, which account for the major part of our production, either immediate pressing or skin-contact maceration is used. However, there is also a third winemaking technique, which is specific to our estate. This secret technique is of course what gives our wines their specific profile.
The winemaking method for red wines depends on the type of wine which is sought. The 'Classic' red, for example, is produced from a relatively short maceration (six to eight days) whereas the 'Elite' cuvée macerates for 40 days. The harvested grapes are entirely destalked and lightly crushed upon arrival at the winemaking cellar. A six-day period of cold maceration before fermentation encourages the extraction of the grape's colour and leads to more supple, fruity wines.
Our rosé wines are produced using one of two techniques: immediate pressing or maceration. Immediate pressing is employed for the 'Classic' range whereas skin-contact maceration is used for the 'Premium' and 'Elite' ranges. As soon as the grapes arrive at the winemaking cellar, they are protected with dry ice and cooled. The harvested grapes are entirely destalked and lightly crushed.
The juices extracted at pressing are again cooled to facilitate settling. This settling stage, known as débourbage, consists of allowing the rosé grape must, which is full of plant debris and pulp, to clarify naturally by settling. Débourbage takes from 12 to 24 hours depending on the maturity of the grapes.
Once the very clear juice has been separated from the rest, the sediment is filtered out, enabling a highly aromatic juice (known as the suc de la vigne) to be obtained.
It is only once this clarification stage is complete that the fermentation of the grape must can commence. Alcoholic fermentation at low temperatures, lasting 15 to 20 days at a constant 16°C, helps to preserve the future wine's aromatic potential. During fermentation, vats are checked three times a day and the contents tasted regularly.
After fermentation, the wine is racked to separate it from any coarse lees (dead yeast cell debris). Ageing on fine lees allows our AOC Sainte Victoire to gain body and length.
The white wines, which come from Rolle or Vermentino grapes, are made using the skin-contact maceration technique. Maceration lasts six hours and is followed by a thorough settling phase (débourbage), resulting in powerful and highly aromatic white wines with character. Alcoholic fermentation at constantly low temperatures (15 to 16°C) helps to preserve the wine's aromatic potential and allows it to develop more subtle aromas. Fermentation lasts approximately 20 days. This is followed by ageing on fine lees which brings complexity and body to the wine.
This technique, which is commonly used today, involves pressing the harvested grapes as soon as they arrive at the winemaking cellar. The slow drawing off of the free-run wine followed by gentle pressing is enough to produce pale coloured rosés with the most subtle, elegant and delicate of aromas and which are generally lighter than rosé wines produced using maceration. This technique is used to produce our 'Classic' range of rosés.
With some grape varieties, several hours of skin-contact maceration helps to enrich the aroma and colour of the grape must. This is how the Premium and Elite ranges and the Domaine des Diables rosés are produced. This modern technique was developed with the introduction of the first cooling units, which are essential to the production of quality rosé wines. The process consists of increasing the contact time between the juice and the grape skins (which are for the most part the source of the aromas). Skin-contact maceration leads of course to rosés which are more intense in colour, but which are also rounder and more persistent on the palate, which is indeed why they are called 'Rosés de bouche'.
We also employ this technique in making our white wines.
As soon as the grapes arrive at the winery, they are cooled and protected against oxidation using dry ice. This helps us to significantly reduce the need to add sulphites and to preserve the aromas and colour of the future wine.