Our signature approach to winemaking works in harmony with Clos Marey-Monge’s specific desires. A combination of time-honored Burgundy traditions and new-age biodynamic viticulture, all of our vinification techniques seek to elevate, accentuate and celebrate the vineyard’s year-long hard work.
After the grapes from each of Clos Marey-Monge’s individual terroirs have safely been transported to their individual fermentation vats in our onsite cuverie, our winemakers step back and allow nature’s greatest example of savoir faire to shine: Maceration.
We capture the essence of each of Clos Marey-Monge’s structurally diverse plots through delicate, long maceration, the all-natural process that kickstarts one of the most important parts of winemaking – fermentation. By softening and breaking down the grape skins, due to prolonged exposure to heat and moisture in our stainless steel tanks, the phenolic materials of the grape – the tannins, anthocyanins and flavor compounds –are leached from the grape skins, seeds and stems into the “must”, the first sign that grapes are transforming into wine. This process continues into the fermentation period when the yeast has converted all sugars into alcohol. Maceration begins as soon as the grapes’ skins are broken and exposed in the tanks – always on the day of being hand-picked The heat that escapes from thousands of grapes compacted on top of each another causing a chemical chain of microbial activity.
Grapes from Heaven: The dried remains of the maceration process
For Pinot Noir, maceration is the process that gives the wine its ruby-red color, since all of the juice inside the grape develops, and remains, a clear-gray color. Anyone who has squeezed a Pinot Noir grape between their fingers and wondered why the juice is not red, will know this!
Fermentation: Emmanuel inspects the first juice from the tank – its very sweet
The traditional Burgundy method of very low-touch, delicate maceration and super-slow fermentation, allows our wines to reveal the soils individual personalities from each of the five diverse micro-terroirs. Cold maceration of the grapes of each terroir is also carried out in separate stainless steel fermentation tanks for a period of five days at 7°C, the ideal temperature for this process. This temperature ensures the juice from each terroir develops a dense tannin structure without astringency.
Throughout the entire maceration process, we do not add any yeast to the tanks. Only indigenous yeasts living naturally on skins ferment our grapes. Our winemaker’s sight, smell and taste are the only additional elements employed to ensure the alcohol levels remain constant and that maceration is followed precisely as nature intended.
Punching-down the cap and pumping-over – the circulation of the fermenting juices in the vat – is carried out with extreme care, and only at the request of the winemaker. Also known as remontage, pumping-over the wine up from the bottom of the tank and spraying it over the top of the fermenting “must” helps submerge the skins in their own juice, pushing unwanted carbon dioxide to the surface of the “must” and circulates more oxygen. The thick frothy layer of skins, stems and seeds that form at the surface of the fermenting red wine, known as the Cap, is also broken down helping increase contact between the skins and the juice and allowing more color and flavor to be extracted from the skins.
Pumping-Over: Softens the grapes’ skins to enhance color and flavor
“Delicate maceration, and natural fermentation, builds richness and stronger, concentrated flavors.”
Emmanuel Sala, Winemaker
Our process of maceration adds many extra layers to the final flavors infused in the wine. It helps enhance the wine’s final full-bodiedness and mouthfeel, as well as strengthen the voluptious ruby-red color for which Pommard wine has become acclaimed.
Délestage: Wine is filtered and pumped into a pneumatic press
For the final step of fermentation, the remaining grape skins are removed from the bottom of the tanks and are pressed in a pneumatic press to extract the remaining juice, a process known as délestage, or devatting, before transferred back to the original tank. This allows the fermentating wine to be aerated as well as extract an increased volume of color, flavor, tannins and aromas from the solid material.
As the vines in Clos Marey-Monge store enough carbohydrates before winter hibernation, so to must the wine enter a period of peace and tranquility. With the fermentation process complete, the wine is now ready to be transported from the fermentation tanks to individually marked and branded Burgundy oak barrels via gravity flow. This process – essentially a long tube that connects the cuverie to the 18th century cellar that lies in wait beneath – is the final destination of the wine for many months. Here and now, the wine is allowed to settle; its flavors fusing together, not in a state of stasis or inactivity, but where sparks between the different terroirs fly and unite as one.
Gravity: Ready to be aged, wine is transported into the cellar via gravity flow