Upon their arrival at the cellar, the grapes are cooled and protected from oxidation with dry ice. This allows us to significantly reduce the input of sulphites and preserves the aromas and colour of the future wine. Several wine-making techniques are used in the cellar. For rosé, which is the largest part of our production, we practise either direct pressing or pellicular maceration. There is however a third development technique specific to our Domaine, to which only we know the secret, and which gives our wines their specific profile.
When it arrives in the cellar, the grape harvest is scraped all over and lightly pressed. A 6-day pre-fermentation cold maceration encourages the extraction of colour and produces more supple and fruity wines. The development of red wines will then depend on the type of wine sought. Maceration will be relatively short (6-8 days) for lively and fruity wines, and longer (up to 40 days) for robust wines and wines that should be aged.
Direct pressing or maceration: these two techniques are used to develop our rosés depending on the variety of wine. As soon as they arrive in the cellar, the grapes are cooled and protected with dry ice. The harvest is completely scraped and lightly pressed. At the press outlet, the juice is cooled again to facilitate settling which consists of allowing the rosé must, rich in vegetable debris and pulp, to clarify naturally by decantation. Settling time varies from 12 to 24 hours depending on the degree of ripening of the grapes. After separating the very clear juice, the sediment is filtered into a very aromatic juice (the vine sap).
It is only after settling that the must begins its alcoholic fermentation, at a low temperature to maintain the aromatic potential of the future wine. It lasts between 15 and 20 days at a constant temperature of 16°C. During fermentation, the vats are checked 3 times a day and tasted regularly.
After fermentation, the wine is racked to remove its coarse lees (yeast cell debris). Ageing on fine lees allows our AOC Sainte Victoire to gain volume and length in the mouth.
Made from the Rolle or Vermentino grape variety, the estate's white wines are made after a 6-day pellicular maceration followed by severe settling. This makes it possible to achieve distinctive, powerful and highly aromatic white wines, whose elegance and finesse are linked to an alcoholic fermentation at a constant low temperature (15-16°C) of approximately 20 days. Ageing on fine lees, after fermentation, will provide complexity and volume in the mouth. For the more upmarket whites, ageing in demi-muids barrels will allow other aromas of our terroir to be revealed and refined.
In 2016 we tried a new approach to wine-making, to obtain a naturally sweet wine. A Rolle must was concentrated to maximum levels, at a very low temperature, to recover some "nectar of the land," as it were. The sugar level is so high that it will produce an alcohol-rich wine that will naturally stop fermenting but keep its sugar level just as high. This is what we call a naturally sweet wine.