In 2022 we are proud to present to you small video insights into how we make Rosnay wine. We will keep adding to this showcase as we have more videos and we hope you enjoy them!
As we approach the annual harvest, we spend a lot of time “doing baumes”, which is keeping a close eye on the ripeness of the grapes so that we can pick at the perfect time. The perfect time window can be as short as one day! We pick “random” samples of grapes, which is hard as we are only human and we love to pick the most beautiful looking bunches! We squeeze out the juice. We float a hyrdometer in the juice, and note the baume, which is kind of equivalent to the final alcohol of the wine. In this case, Shiraz, we got 9.5 baume, which is on the lower size of a zesty petillant natural rose style. An in a month or so, we would expect it to get up to 13 baume, which his the ripeness for a red wine, and a month or so after that, always weather dependent, we might have 18 baume which is just sweet enough to make a sticky or fortified wine. As well as baume, we measure pH. The pH goes up as the baume goes up. But if it goes up too much, then we lose the zestiness we are after in an early harvested style, and we lose the protection against spoilage in a later harvested wine. As we aim not to add tartaric acid, the pH is also monitored frequently.
The first harvest of the vintage, when its still quite hot during the day in late summer, is at night. Usually around the last few days of January, we pick chardonnay grapes for two of our wines: the Petillant Naturel sparkling wine, and the first part of the Skin Contact white wine. In both cases, we want grapes that are crisp and zesty, not too sweet and high in acidity. The juice for the sparkling goes directly into the press, within a few hours, and is cold settled and then slowly fermented with wild yeast. The grapes for the Skin Contact are simply put into “The Egg” tank or steel tanks to ferment on the skins with wild yeast. “The Egg” is the tank where the first wild or “spontaneous” fermentation happens and it can be used to get other juice fermenting as well if needed, as a “house yeast”. In both cases, there is no disadvantage in picking by machine: it leaves the stems on the vines, and the grapes come into the winery nice and cool and all at once. A great way to start the vintage.
Many people think foot stomping is just a touristy sideshow, but it does actually help make great wine. It is an essential part of the process to make our “Beau Joli” wine. Carbonic Maceration is used first – that is – the hand picked grapes are left intact in a blanket of Carbon Dioxide for about 2 weeks. The carbon dioxide comes naturally from fermentation – either from a small amount of fermenting juice in the bottom of the vat (“semi carbonic maceration”) or from a hose capturing the CO2 gas from another vat, and the grapes are kept dry (“pure carbonic maceration”). We use a bit of both. In this video, we are foot stomping grapes that have completed 2 weeks of pure carbonic maceration. Once they have all been gently crushed – hence the use of feet rather than a crushing machine – they can sit and “extract” colour form the skins for say half a day. In this case, we put the well trodden grapes into our press, which can hold 3 of these bins of grapes, and leave it overnight, and press the next morning. The resulting juice is different to “direct pressed” juice – it has a classic “hubba bubba” aroma of confection and once fermented it has soft tannins which the french call “glou-glou” (the sound the wine makes soon after it is poured into your glass!).