Château Belles Filles
Work method and vinification:
We have the chance to work in a wine cellar built in the 18th century.
Our vinification vats are made of concrete, most of them built in the 1940s / 1950s and are thermo-regulated. In fact, our whole wine warehouse is equipped with a freezing water unit, along with an individual temperature control system. The white grapes vinification is done in the western part. Each vat has a capacity of approximately 70 hectolitres.
1/ The destemming:
This technique means removing the stalks, and this takes out a large part of the hard and herbaceous aromas of the wine. The stalk does not bring anything to the fermentation, it is only the stem of the fruit (in a cherry, one does not eat the tail).
2/ The pre-fermentation:
Once the grapes are in the vat, we wait 48 to 72 hours to start the fermentation, because this enables to extract more colour, intensity and fruit.
3/ Temperature control by cooling:
The fermentation, like any chemical reaction, releases energy that results in a rise of temperature. If we do not control it, the temperature could exceed 30°C for red wines.
The experience reveals that, to obtain a quality red wine, it is preferable to keep the temperature below 27 / 28°C. Whereas for a white wine, it is best not to go over 16 / 17°C.
The explanation is simple, from a too high temperature, the aromas escape. One only need to heat wine in a saucepan for 3 to 4 minutes, let it cool and compare with a sample held at temperature. Because of the heat, the aromas have evaporated (with the alcohol).
The same phenomenon occurs when you use perfume, it takes about 10 minutes for the perfume to give out its best fragrances, the body heat being a developer.
Those are only examples of what we do nowadays. Our ancestors passed down methods that are up to us to develop and evolve.
4/ The hyperoxygenation of white wines must:
Once the white grape harvest is pressed, we obtain a juice loaded with microparticles called coarse sediment. Those deposits are rich in aromas, but we cannot keep them during the fermentation because they bring very negative aromatic deviations. One of the most widespread
techniques is to filter the juices before the fermentation, but this impoverishes the environment within the tank.
We prefer to make the best use of those deposits: right after the pressing we pass the juice through a device that saturates the juice with pure oxygen, and the result is impressive. 24 hours after this treatment, we obtain a clear juice, full of aromas. Another advantage, and not least, is the significant improvement in the wine's final stability, which allows us to halve the use of sulphur in our finished wines. Our sweet white wines contain two times less sulphur than a traditional sweet wine.
A demonstration enhances our understanding:
Open a bottle of sweet white wine, smell it, air it and smell it again. The sulphur being very volatile, it escapes first. The best known of the side effects is the famous impression of having a bar on the forehead (headache) that one feels after consuming wines loaded with sulphur. You will never feel these side effects with our wines.
We want to clear up an ambiguity: the use of So2 (sulphur) is not harmful to wine because it already produces it naturally. The fermentation yeasts release So2 when they die, we only amplify the phenomenon.
© 2014 - Created by EARL de CONTI