In the cellar
What can we say about the work in our cellar? Yes, it is possible to work exclusively with natural, spontaneous fermentation. Yes, it is possible for malolactic fermentation to set in naturally, in its own time. Yes, it is also possible to do without the many additives known as “fining” agents in specialist terminology – as if our wines weren’t fine enough on their own! And yes, it is also possible to produce wines with very little sulphur or even to vinify completely without sulphur. Trusting nature is a beautiful and exciting experience.
All our wines have therefore been vegan-friendly since the 2004 vintage.
Wooden, stainless steel and concrete vessels reside in our cellar. They are, together with the element of maturation time, our cellar hands. Up-to-date technology is also important to us, so that we can preserve, but not alter, the treasures produced in our vineyards. By technology, we mean clean tanks and basic cellar equipment, as we do not use highly technical machines. We work on two floors using gravity flow, which spares us some pumping and enables us to tip the grapes directly into our press. When we built our cellar, we modelled it on the traditional wood barn – a downscaled functional building which allows the wines to be in the foreground.
Finding the perfect vessel for maturing our wines means giving our wines as much independence as possible and retaining all our grapes’ intensity and character – their life, so to speak.
Inspired by the search for a purist storage method to safeguard the wine’s own subtle character, we hold a fascination for a material which is still relatively unfamiliar to us in our wine making: pure concrete, in the unusual shape of an egg. Its origins date far back into history. Concrete was already known by the Romans, who described it as “liquid stone” and used it for storing water. With its numerous positive attributes it is a solid cornerstone for a completely new methodology for wine maturation.
Concrete allows the ideal amount of oxygen to reach the wine naturally. Stainless steel is completely airtight, whereas wood has quite large pores. Concrete, however, allows oxygen to penetrate through a multitude of extremely small pores, making micro-oxygenation possible. It has a considerable advantage over oak barrels in that it does not add any foreign aromas whatsoever to the wine and in that it strongly supports the development of the wine’s originality.
Pure and original – the focus remains on the actual fruit of the grape variety: finely structured, subtle, individual, with a completely uninfluenced and simply “concrete” varietal character. It is fitting that the word “concrete” also refers to the material. The minor temperature fluctuations within the concrete egg help to retain the wine’s various aromas. Concrete allows the wine to breathe and mature undisturbed.
Concrete as a pure, honest winemaking tool thus represents a completely new maturation method.
The golden ratio
With its golden ratio dimensions, the shape of the egg is in perfect geometrical harmony. It is virtually ideal for storing wine because the young wine does not have to contend with any edges or obstacles when it circulates around the vessel.
The air passing through the egg’s concrete walls enables the desired polymers to form during the wine’s maturation process. Heavy wine molecules gliding down the inner sides of the oversized egg push the lighter wine molecules in the middle of the egg back up, resulting in a type of circulation. The wine can move around freely and completely unencumbered.