‘Barrels that are at least six years old oxygenate the wine without giving it ‘oaky’ aromas and flavours.’
I I choose to mature my wines in oak barrels on the lees.
For this, really high quality lees are required. To get them, I use a vertical press that slowly presses the whole bunches of grapes without over crushing them.
This means that the resulting juice is very pure. I then put it into oak barrels where alcoholic and malolactic fermentation finishes over fine lees.
On bottling, filtration is light and over diatomaceous earth, preserving all the characteristics of my wine.
During alcoholic fermentation, yeasts turn sugar to alcohol and, while doing so, transmit the characteristics of the soil to the wine. Unfortunately, chemical plant protection products destroy the greater part of natural yeasts, so an organic vinegrowing is essential to be able to craft wine using indigenous yeasts. When cultured yeasts are used, they don’t transmit the characteristics of the land to the wine, as they are often selected from other regions.
For me, vinification without the use of sulphur and without filtration for certain cuvées in certain conditions, is really interesting, but never systematic. I have been witness the effect on wine of fundamentalist practices of either no sulphur or too much sulphur. Over idealization kills wine as does its opposite. Maybe it’s time to reconsider the use of sulphur. In homeopathy, sulphur allows an illness to continue its path towards healing. Alchemists said of sulphur that it was the active principle. I think that it’s time to move on from extreme and divisive views which halt progress. Alchemist blacksmiths used to pour sulphur to pierce iron, they also treated all sorts of illnesses with sulphur. There is a lot of sulphur in our bodies, it is necessary and important. There is more sulphur than iron in our blood, it helps regulate of the liver. I think that winemakers should take a new look at the use of sulphur. Mined sulphur is maybe an area that I will look into.