We like to think of our wines as ‘hand-made’, with the emphasis on quality at every stage of the process.
In the vineyard, we use organic farming methods, though we haven’t chased official certification – we prefer to devote our energy to the vines. These we tend with great care to ensure they remain healthy, pruning them rigorously in order to keep yields low, and grape concentration high.
We select only the best grapes, with all picking done by hand, and each vineyard is picked when we determine that the grapes have reached optimum ripeness. Nature, not convenience, dictates when the harvest will take place.
We tend not to de-stem as we believe that this enhances the flavour. Next comes fermentation and we have invested in open top fermenters to aid the oxygenation of the wine. We allow the grapes a long cuvaison – typically 3 to 4 weeks – using gentle methods, even stirring by hand, to extract the colour from the skins.
At the end of this process we use our own basket press – a pressing method traditionally used for fruit and olives – to make sure we extract every drop of flavour from the grapes.
Some wines are transferred into wooden barrels where complexity is added through oak. We are unusual in our preference for using “demi-muids” – large, 600 litre barrels which have gone out of fashion for economic reasons, but which we favour because the ratio of oak to wine is lower and hence the oak influence is less heavy, and more integrated.
When it comes to bottling, our top down approach means we select only a proportion of each AOP wine to bottle under the name of the village. Only wine from the best tanks and barrels is selected and any wine which does not make the final blend is simply declassified to the next level – the accent at all times being on achieving the best quality for our wines, rather than the highest price.