- Naturally fermented with native yeasts
- In conically shaped lagar fermenters
- Some whole bunches are added to ferments but mostly stems [lignified stems] are re-introduced after crush to avoid carbonic maceration
- We do co-ferment more than one variety with our field-blends but generally we like to separate them until we learn as much as we can. In this way we can compare ej. Garnacha in different soils. Cariñena grown with regen cover crops vs original method ploughing by horse...
- Caps punched down by hand (lightly)
* 1st addition of sulfites only after malolactic finishes which oftentimes does not happen before Winter begins and thus happens as late as 9-10 months after harvest
Some consider our attention to detail mad, but small tactical vinifications allow us to have many harvests in a harvest. To have but one would inefficacious and boring.
1. Separate and experiment
We have innate curiosity. We apply the scientific method. We are always learning refining our knowledge of the farms and the wines.
We learn by cutting on two different dates, by separating what are already small parcels into multiple 2ooo kg tanks perhaps one with 20% stems another with 40% and another 100%, by comparing elevage of the same wine in multiple vessels barrels fudres cement eggs amphora . . . stirring up lees, performing batonage, whole clusters, co-fermentaion et al et al
Generally, most everything makes it into the final blend, but this blend is made done just a few weeks before bottling allowing us to learn how the permutations develop over two winters in the cellar.
If we had made decisions post-harvest on the inclusion of stems for example, we would have abandoned this practice years ago. Whattastes rough and rustic or is an ugly duckling early on can come around to be a veritable swan after two winters of elevage.
Our Garage has grown from less than one thousand to more than 7000 cases over the past fifteen years, but the way we make the wines has changed little.
Our unit of production is still for the most part 25oo kgs. We also have three tanks of 4ooo kgs and more recently where we co-ferment we are able to utilize tanks of 5-7ooo kgs.
Likewise, elevage is mostly done in neutral barrels of 225 lts because they allow us to compare and contrast. We do have fudres, and we love the simplicity of putting 2500 -3500 litros of wine in one place without having to refill dozens of barrels, but it limits our capacity to experiment so we are adopting more fudres slowly and only with the vineyards we know best.
We make One Winter wines : the Single Ferments that are released after a single Winter in barrels, and we make Two Winter wines: the parcels, that are only released after a second Winter in barrels.
We have about 350-400 barrels from each vintage. In a typical year we acquire 60-70 3rd use barrels. These have come from a prestigious winery that only uses 1st and 2nd use barrels. Thus most of our barrels are 5th use and older. We have an assortment of tonneliers but we like: Nadalie – Alliers Noisette toast, Sylvain, Berger y Fils, Seguin Moreau and lesser known names from Burgundy. Varieties that like the sun (Garnacha Cariñena Monastrell Syrah) do not like the wood we say in Spanish. Tighter fine-grained oak does not work with our varieties either as it breathes less.
For more about the makings of particular wines see the Wines techsheets here.
To learn more about themes important to us in the cellar see #editorial here
¨Small cellars do make great
wine because they are small — but some are small because they want to focus on making great wine.¨ per se