Chateau Roudier’s winemaking
Work in the cellar at Château Roudier
The work in the cellar begins during the harvest period when leaving the vine plots. Receiving and processing the harvest is an essential step because the grapes and their juice are very fragile. At Château Roudier, we have opted for transporting the harvest by dumpers equipped with vibrating spouts and hoppers in order to separate the juice from skips, which are of poor quality. These dump trucks gently deposit the grape berries on a sorting table in order to get rid of unwanted elements. After these successive sortings, the harvest will be crushed in order to voluntarily bring the juice and the skins of the grapes into contact. The vinification can begin.
The next day, the alcoholic fermentation will be triggered by the action of the yeasts which, by transforming the sugar into alcohol, will release carbon dioxide. This carbon dioxide will bring to the surface all the solid parts that make up the grape seed, namely the skin, the pulp and the pips. The marc will form. In order to extract the full potential of our grapes, twice a day we pump over. The objective of this pumping-over is to take the clear juice from the bottom of the vat and project it on the marc by pumping so that the juice takes on the coloring and tannic molecules present in the grape skins and seeds. Fermentation ends when all the sugars are consumed by the yeasts. The frequency of pumping over varies according to the daily tastings of each batch. Once finished, the juice remains in contact with the marc for a few days between 28 and 32°C. This hot post-fermentation maceration promotes complex mechanisms that soften the wine and enrich it. Then comes the physical operation of running off. The free run juice is placed in a tank while the marc is pressed. The press wines are discarded and the tasting will determine their orientation in the final blend. The second fermentation can then begin.
Malolactic fermentation is a natural deacidification of wine through lactic bacteria. The hard biacid malic acid in the mouth turns into lactic acid reminiscent of curdled milk. This step can be more or less long. The wines are kept at 20°C. When this is finished, we sanitize the environment by adding a dose of sulfur solution and we will turn off the temperature maintenance. We are in December, the temperature of the cellars will lower the temperature of the wines between 8 and 10°C favoring decantation, clarification and the precipitation of tartaric acid for better stability of the wines in the bottle. We let the wine rest for a few weeks until the beginning of the following year when the wine will begin its ageing.
Aging begins with racking at the end of malolactic fermentation. After being deposited for a few weeks in the cold, a thick layer of coarse particles, the lees, settled at the bottom of the vat. Racking will aim to separate the fine wine from this lees. We take advantage of this transfer to inject carbon dioxide in order to increase its natural concentration to protect the wine from oxidation. In the destination vat, barrel staves await the arrival of the wine.
They make it possible to provide tannins from selected French oaks entering into physico-chemical phenomena allowing to fix the color and to participate in the complexity of the aromatic bouquet. The wine will remain in vats for 12 months where the Château Roudier team will control analytically and through numerous technical tastings the smooth running of its aging. Once maturing is complete, the wines are blended. Each vat is meticulously tasted, it is a team effort requiring inspiration and concentration. It is the culmination of two long years of work, one in the vineyard and the other in the cellar, where the women and men of the property worked together to get the best out of the vintage.