This operation consists in extracting the juice from the grapes, separating the skin from the pulp to keep all of its fruitiness.
The principle :
- Separating the pulp from the skin to curb tannin levels.
- Transforming grape juice into alcohol without losing its delicate aromas.
Settling precedes fermentation. It allows the biggest solid elements to settle at the bottom of the vat. It is a natural phenomenon but can be speeded up by cold temperatures or adding enzymes.
Oxygen triggers the alcoholic fermentation of must. Sugar is transformed into alcohol and aromas are released by the yeast more slowly than for red wines. Temperatures must be controlled for these processes to take place (18°) and for subtle aromas to be released over time. Fermentation ceases when there is no more sugar to process. Occasionally, for white wines with a lot of power, fermentation occurs directly in the barrel.
Malolactic fermentation caused by lactic acid bacteria often starts spontaneously! But it is only of interest to winegrowers with whites that are naturally acidic – mainly in the north of France. It transforms the slightly hard malic acid into softer, rounder, lactic acid. This transformation makes the wine suppler, less aggressive, and also stabilises the wine because lactic acid is less reactive than malic acid.
Blending is a magical process, carried out by the winegrower and the oenologist to concoct the final wine. The goal is to increase complexity and aromatic richness by using different grape varieties. The blend is different every year.
Maturation is an important phase, during which a certain number of components in the wine will combine to give a richer beverage that is more pleasing to drink and also more suitable for cellaring in some cases. The maturation phase either takes place in a vat, for fruity wines to be enjoyed when they are still young, or in contact with wood, usually to accentuate a palette of aromas. Maturing on lees involves maturing the wine without separating it from its deposits in order to keep all of its roundness and aroma.
At the end of the maturation phase the wine is bottled in very strict conditions of hygiene. It may be filtered beforehand.