As part of our signature winemaking technique, our unique long aging process of each of our three estate wines allows them the opportunity to come to life and achieve greatness. All they need is time. With old age comes wisdom, after all.
THE THUNDER CELLAR
Located 30ft underneath the cobbled Courtyard of Honor and the Cour Carrée above,and hidden in shadow among a labyrinth of dark pathways lined by bottles of vintages past, the barrels of wine of each of our separate terroirs slowly – very slowly – begins their transformation into something transcendent.
Thunder Cellar: 800 meters of Barrels and bottles
Only one per cent of all the wine produced in the world is made to be aged. At Château de Pommard we are very proud to be in that one per cent. While a wine’s ability to age is tied intimately to its vintage, it is the ratio of sugars, acids, and phenolics to water that determine how well, and how long, a wine can spend in a barrel. The drier the weather in the run up to the harvest period can also offer vignerons a guide. The less water present in the grapes, the more likely the resulting wine will have aging potential.
“Perfectly matched to age in Burgundy Oak, Pinot Noir absorbs flavors easier
than other grapes, resulting in increased complexity and aromas.”
Emmanuel Sala, Winemaker
Our winemaking methods may start in the vineyard, but it is deep underground in our Thunder Cellar (as the Marey-Monge family once named it) that our Pinot Noir truly reach a crescendo.
Once the maceration and fermentation phases are complete in the cuverie, each plot’s wine is transferred via gravity flow to our bespoke toasted Burgundy oak barrels in our 18th century stone vaulted cellar.
THE ONE PER CENT
Built between 1725 and 1750, by Vivant Micault, the cellar maintains a year-long temperature of 55 °F and 60 °F (13.0 °C and 15.5 °C), naturally-cooled by the River Dheune that flows parallel to Rue Marey-Monge, and down from the “mountains of Pommard”. With a constant humidity of 60 per cent, our 800 metre-long cellar creates the optimal conditions required for long aging Pinot Noir.
Cooperage: A cooper builds a 228-liter Burgundy barrel, using steamed wood
The oak toasting of the barrels (essential for eliminating the tannin content in oak wood), is selected just in time for the current year’s vintage, when our winemaker Emmanuel is confident of the final blend. With sustainable oak forests located a few miles east of Pommard, we are able to procure the best Quercus Robur (a white oak species) match for our Pinot Noir, only taking ownership of the barrels once we’ve tasted the cuvées after the long aging process. Besides making a cellar look cool, oak barrels also add complex aroma compounds, such as vanilla, spice, clove, caramel and smoky notes. Oak barrels can also last up to 100 years, though every vintage we replace 40 per cent with new oak barrels.
Quercus Robur: All new oak barrels are branded with our new coat of arms
WE LIKE TO TAKE OUR TIME
With flavors bursting and blending together in the barrels, our Pinot Noir completes its all-natural malolactic fermentation – where malic acid, naturally present in grape “must”, is converted to lactic acid to help soften or round out some of the flavors – before settling down and aging for 18 to 30 months, depending on the vintage’s requirements and Emmanuel’s savoir faire. Pinot Noir, with its low pH, ensures its ability to age in barrels longer than other varietals, but Emmanuel likes to keep an eye on each barrel.
As part of our signature winemaking technique, we age each barreled terroir longer than the typical 12–16 months, allowing each terroirs’ elegance, complexity, and length to open up even further. The oak barrels, stamped with the coat of arms of the Château, and inscribed with our motto Vitae Amorem Ardentes (a burning love of life), are then left in tranquil peace. It is only when Emmanuel has prepared his proportions of the final blend that the wine of each terroir is awakened from its slumber.
Underground: Emmanuel checks the contents of the barrels