Colors & Style
In the Rhone Valley vineyards, mainly red wine is produced but there are also excellent white and rosé wines. Although the grapes may have black, white or gray skin, the flesh is always white. So, how does the wine get its color? processDuring the winemaking process, the work is done all year long in the vineyards, and then comes the harvest, usually from August to October. Once the grapes arrive at the winery, many steps follow:
Vinification of red wines:
Destemming: (we separating grapes from the stalk) but not all winemakers do this. It depends on the style of wine they want to make. When grapes burst, the juice is released.
Vatting: The juice is put in a vat with the skins and pips of the grapesberries. The maceration process starts and the tannins and color (present in the seeds and skin) pass into the juice.
Pigeage and remontage: The solid parts of the grape berries constitute a "cap of marc". The pigeage consists in pushing this cap of marc into the juice. Pumping over is a process of pumping the must (the juice) to water the cap of marc from the top. It is the extraction of the color and the tannins.
Alcoholic fermentation: The sugars in the juice are transformed into alcohol by the fermenting yeasts. The juice becomes wine.
Running off and devatting: The wine is run off by gravity into another tank or barrel. This is the free run wine. The marc is recovered to be pressed.
Pressing: the marc is recovered and pressed. This is the press wine.
Blending: The free-run wine and the press wine are blended (before or after maturing). The lees (the heaviest particles) fall naturally to the bottom of the tank. The clear wine is put in barrels and lees discarded.
Malolactic fermentation: Lactic acid bacteria that transforms malic acids into lactic acids. This naturally reduces the acidity of the wine and stabilizes it.
Racking - Sulfiting: This is not systematically done in all vinifications. The purpose of this step is to change the wine container to eliminate the lees (deposit at the bottom of the tank). The wine is fragile so we can add sulfur to protect it.
Aging: The wine is kept in barrels or tanks for several months. It is at this time that its aromatic richness and structure evolve.
Racking : The wine is racked into the tank.
Fining - Filtration : The particles in suspension are drawn to the bottom and then filtered to clarify the wine.
Bottling : The wine is bottled by a filler (connected to the tank) and then corked.
To vinify white wines
Pressing - Vatting: The grapes are pressed and the juice recovered in a vat.
Settling - Racking: The lees fall to the bottom of the tank. The "clear" juice is then put in a tank and the must eliminated.
Alcoholic fermentation - Racking: The sugars in the must are transformed into alcohol. The wine is changed out of the container (racked) and the deposit at the bottom of the barrels is discarded
Malolactic fermentation: Lactic acid bacteria that transform malic acids into lactic acids. This naturally reduces the acidity of the wine and stabilizes it.
Racking - Sulfiting: As with red wine, this step is not mandatory. We change the wine container to dispose of the lees (deposit at the bottom of the tank). The wine is fragile so we can add sulfur to protect it.
Aging and stirring: The wine can be aged in barrels for months. If the wine is aged on its lees, the lees are stirred and back in the suspension. Structural and aromatic evolution of the wine .
Racking - Blending: The wine is racked into the vat and the sulfur is readjusted if necessary. The wines from the same plot or from different plots of the same appellation are then blended. The wines have been aged in different barrels.
Fining : The wine is clarified and stabilized if necessary.
Filtration - Bottling : If necessary, wine can be filtered to make it more brilliant and clear. It is then transferred to a tank for bottling.
Vinification of pink wines:
Rosé wines are made with black grapes and sometimes with white grapes. There are two types of vinification for rosé wines: by direct pressing, or by maceration.
Below are the different steps by direct pressing:
- Destemming: the grapes are separated from the stalk. Not a systematic step.
- Crushing : release of the juice.
- Pressing : the grapes are directly poured into the press without any maceration step
- Debourbage : The must falls to the bottom of the tank. The "clear" juice is then put in the tank and the must is eliminated.
- Alcoholic fermentation followed by malolactic fermentation: sugars in the juice are transformed into alcohol thanks to the fermenting yeasts. The juice becomes wine. Then the lactic bacteria transform the malic acids into lactic acids. This naturally reduces the acidity of the wine and stabilizes it.
- Short aging phase.
- Clarification and bottling.
The technique of vinification of rosé wine by short maceration is similar to the vinification of red wine. Indeed, we find the stages of destemming and crushing, the setting in tank also but for a short maceration (generally between 12h and 48h but can be up to four4 days). The juice from the skins is then separated and transferred to another vat, where it will complete its alcoholic maceration. Then come the stages of malolactic fermentation, a short ageing period, clarification and bottling.