We have a heating system under our tanks to maintain the concrete at the right temperature in order to lower it down as slow as possible at the time of fermentation.
At the beginning of the vinification process we start to air-condition the cellar very freshly to lower down the temperature, during the whole summer we keep it at 18,19°C.
Before to start harvesting we have them dropped at 15°C during one month, concrete temperature dropped at 15°C therefore we start vinications with very cold tanks .
One of the danger faced during the harvest is to have very high temperatures. 2016 was ok but some years we bring back grapes in the cellar with temperatures as 28, 29°C so it is a good thing to put grapes in a colder environment.
Our goal is to not directly intervene on the grapes neither at cold nor hot temperatures. We only intervene on the environment. At the end of the fermentation process we keep a temperature slightly warm to let the temperatures decrease much more slowly. And at first that’s exactly why we keep a cold atmosphere, in order that temperatures rise more reasonably. That’s my way to work rather then doing any intervention directly on the grapes.
We have only 10 barrels the rest are only casks. Barrels are allowing you to play with volume, we use more as a container rather than a maturing tool. It’s really to mature the volums . It’s more for press wine. We have only traditionnal oak barrels , the smaller are 20 hectoliter and the bigger are 57 hectoliter, the wood is around 50 years old. The indication ex15 means that this wine was aged in the tank number 15. A very important thing is that we work until bottling seprately on each vinification tank. I always have in mind which grapes were in the tank it helps me keeping track until the bottle . Cleaning the large casks is a very peculiar experience, you have to enter entirely inside, but you don’t smell alcohol as you can do in a vinification tank. The shape of the cask , the air circulation inside is such that you feel quite confortable, even for someone as me you is not a big fan of confine, small spaces. The atmosphere inside is very soft, enveloping. It’s cleaned with a brush every year. We spray first hot water and let the vapor dilate a bit the wood pores.
Les Trois Sources:
It is a cuvée blending. There are two parts, one is more early . It’s two casks blended during the bottling. 2016 bottling was end of february 2017. After the bottling we wait 4 months before to put them on the market.
For each vintage we keep 300/400 bottles. 2013 and 2014 were two difficult years and it was not easy to keep that number.
What’s important ?
To have a good fruit, a good grape, balance, containing the right quantity of sugar, acidity, natural yeast. It’s one of the rare transformed product which stay stable. The work is first in the vineyard.
Which type of glass would you recommend for your wines ?
Glasses of Saint Gobin. (the same craftman who made the Louvres pyramid).
For tasting we use Riddle glasses.
We have a board to keep updates visually, precisely and quickly of harvest and vinification periods. There is a balance. We need exactitude, we need to quickly decide that it’s this moment and not an other. And at the same time comes into play more senses, creativity, artistique side, experience, some poetry.
Overall you need technique. Some winemakers are real artist they make really aerial wines. I personnaly prefers tellurian wines, rooted. It’s a balance though to find between the two. We are in a perpetual research of balance.
The first contact of the wine with So2 will be in the casks. Between two vintages we wash them, dry them, wicked them. If you don’t wick a cask a bacterial degradation will follow and you will find a volatile acidity damaging the cask to the point that it’ll become unusable. The wines will become proper vinegar. It’s a must do.
I personnaly think that So2 must be used if you want to transport the wines. I agree with the questioning , for example the work of my friend Marcel Lapierre, a pioneer in natural wine philosophy, it’s something important.
But rather than thinking not to put So2 at all the question is more which levels we are ready to accept. I believe that until 40mg/l of total So2 amount there is no effect for the human body, we don’t feel it. The maximum i will use is 2mg during the vinification process. In biodynamic the maximum is 70mg/l and in conventional 100mg/l.
It’s all about finding techniques to use it the less possible. The So2 you use in the casks at the beginning makes more stable the So2 used later. And you will need to add less. The ideal is to have the best ratio between total So2 and free So2. I reach the ratio of 1 for 2, so if we have 20mg/l free So2 we have 40mg/l total So2. It’s a good ratio. My objective is to make a stable wine.
So2 is a preservative so it’s not ideal for health to use it in big amount. Especially knowing that the ones geenrally used in wines comes from the petrochemistry. We use generally the So2 from quarries but nowadays we are forced to use petrochemical sulfites, natural ones being considered not edible. It’s a nonsense.
It’s a good thing to question the use of So2 but no So2 wines are, in my opinion, more something tending to militantism than a winemaker idea.
It’s all about balance. Again wine is a natural product, if you work well in the field you don’t need acidity or yeast but a low level of So2 helps to keep its stability.
Natural wine is beforehand a concept not really a winegrower idea. But again we should respect everyone vision.