Our cellars are dug in the rock: it is a limestone typical of the Loire Valley called “tuffeau”. It was some medieval limestone quarries.
The hygrometry and the temperature are continuous. It’s always between 10 and 14°C . It is some ideal conditions to keep some wine. All the cellars are eighty meters long and contain 300000 bottles.
ELABORATION OF THE STILL WINES
The still wines are some wines, which are not sparkling. They can be dry medium-dry mellow or sweet. It depends on the alcohol and the residual sugar (sugar which hasn’t been converted into alcohol). The still wines are harvested in the middle of October and they are elaborated with some grapes, which have an alcoholic potential above 12°. The vinification is made in oak barrels and stainless steel vats between November and June. The fermentation in oak barrels is slow: so the wines have a good delicacy and a lot of flavours. But the last months of the vinification are always made in vats because we don’t want to develop some oak flavours to keep the ones created by the vine and the land.
In May are selected the vastfuls for the dry medium-dry mellow or sweet wines according to some specific criterions:
The dry wines will have between 1 in 9 grams of residual sugar.
The medium-dry between 10 in 25 grams of residual sugar.
The mellow between 25 in 60 grams of residual sugar.
The sweet more than 100 grams.
The mellow and the sweet wines are often the result of some grapes selections in the vineyard. Our best vintages are 1921, 1947, 1959, 1989, 1990, 1996, 1997 and 2002.
All the complexity of the vinification consists in balancing the different vastfuls, to harmonized the alcoholic power with the residua sugar and the acidity.
Too much alcohol in a wine will hide its flavours.
Too much residual sugar will give some sickly wines and they will maderize with the years.
A wine with too much acidity will be too aggressive unripe and immature.
The hornbeam of the Vouvray wines is to obtain a real osmosis between these three elements: the wines will be fruity complex aromatic and the best vintages will be able to mature during a century.
A still Vouvray wine is made to be matured. Older the wine is better it is.
VINIFICATION OF THE SPARKLING WINES
The Vouvray wine has a natural tendency to ferment. It is actually developed to elaborate some sparkling wines with the champagne method. The grapes are harvested in the young vines and have an alcoholic potentiality between 10 and 12°.
The vinification of the sparkling wines begins like the one of the still.
But to realize the champagne method and the fermentation in bottle we need to add some ferments, a piece of liquor made with dome dry still wine and some sugar to feed them and some tannin to concentrate the dregs.
The sparkling wines mature in the cellars during more than one year.
Then we turn the bottles during three weeks to let the dregs go to the neck.
So we take the top off each bottle to take out the dregs and we add a piece of liquor to balance the flavours and to elaborate some dry or medium-dry sparkling wines. We finish by putting a cork.
The elaboration of the sparkling wines is long (approximately 18 months) and complex. Inspired by the champagne method it gives rise to some fruity and typical wines, which can mature during five years.