Paroles de vignerons - Vinparleur - Winzer talk

Santa Duc - Looking back on the 2014 vintage in the #Rhône

8 October 2015, by Domaine Santa Duc

Last year we had a late maturing vintage. In the area around Gigondas, Plan de Dieu, Rasteau ... there was little rainfall in September, so we could serenely wait for the full maturity of the grapes. The last fruit finally reached our cellar on October 10th.

Being convinced that terroir and fruits produce the taste of wine, we intervene in the production processes as sparingly as possible. Its our main concern to preserve the overall quality of the grapes. For this purpose, we carefully sort out ripe and aromatic fruits, let fermentations be done by natural yeasts; and adapt maceration and extraction to overall tannin quality of the grapes.

At the beginning of the cellar work, when we put the crop into the tanks, we will add moderate amounts of sulphites, to prevent the development of undesirable yeasts. This agreement fits well with our philosophy, because we are neither friend nor foe of sulphites and adjust the application to the needs of each vintage and each tank. The oxygen sensitivity of different grape varieties, the frequency of racking to separate the wines from their lees, the topping of the barrels and the constant temperature of our cellar are, among other things, important factors for a harmonious and secure development of each wine. Only the sum of all factors allows the wine to evolve towards harmony of taste and will freely express the character of its origin.

In recent years, we focussed on the pursuit for a pure and noble expression of fruit and terroir. Oak, therefore, still plays an important role in the maturation of the wines. The regular topping of the barrels and the migration of tannins from oak to the wine allow a moderate but controlled oxygen supply, which is essential for a “fragile” varieties as the Grenache. The majority of our small barrels have recently been replaced by large oak vats. This changed the balance of power between wood and wine consideralbly. It seems essential to us, that the latter always has the upper hand.

In the continuity of this work, our cellar welcomed this year three 800-liter clay jars from Impruneta. In this stronghold of pottery near Florence in Italy a special type of clay, particularly suitable for the manufacturing of earthenware jars for wine and olive oil has been mined for many centuries. The hand-made jars have a completely smooth surface on the inside, and the clay allows the maturation of wines without any supply of tannins and flavours, while their special shape favours the expression of fruit and minerality. For this first year, a pure Grenache from La Crau in Chateauneuf-du-Pape and a Mourvedre from the terroir of the Hautes Garrigues in Gigondas will be ageing in these jars.



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