As we are trying to make wines with always fewer additives, we have looked into sulphites and their impact on wine and vinification.
First, by researching and tasting what was already being made here and there.
Since a challenge is born: to make a wine without sulphites, nice and elegant enough to convince sceptics, and without the unpleasant animal taste those wines often have.
Then comes the waiting for a sane harvest with high concentrations of tannins and anthocyanins, wine's natural preservatives. Cause, if you do not add sulphites to protect from deviances and oxidation better use grapes that are as full as possible of natural protectors.
We needn't wait long. 2018 is warm and sunny, bunches are perfect!
Follows the perilous period of vinification and ageing. In Haut-Médoc appellation, ageing must last, at least, until May the 31st of the year following the harvest, for the bottling should not take place before the 1st of July. Yet another challenge when your wine is waiting, fragile, without the protection of sulphites.
To make a non-sulphated wine without defects, you need to tend it with special care. We are learning a new way of doing things. First, hygiene is imperative, the winery must be impeccable. Then comes testing and studying to find the best conditions in which to keep this fragile wine. We also work on melting the tannins without the use of oak: nothing protects the wine from oxidation and oak ageing induces a micro-oxygenation through the wood. Of course ageing this wine in a barrel would have made an excellent vinegar, no doubt! But it makes it harder to enjoy with your salami.
At the end of the summer, the wine is bottled. The cuvée is fruity and fresh with notes of almond and hazelnut in the aftertaste. It is also incredibly easy to drink, we have successfully met the challenge. Now it only misses a name. How could we name an atypical wine which stands out in a very traditional appellation? Well, we dust off prejudices with a rebellious Haut-Médoc and we remind everybody that Haut-Médoc rocks!