Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Le vin est fait…

… but not yet in barrels.

During fermentation I taste each wine several times per day to assess the amount of colour, flavour and tannin that has been extracted from the skins. Then after 2 or 3 weeks, when I decide there has been enough extraction, I draw off the new wine into an empty vat. The mass of skins that is left behind (called la gène) still contains a significant amount of wine (about 20% of the total volume), so la gène is transferred to a press and squeezed to recover this final 20%.
Once all the wine has been extracted I am left with about 1500kg of relatively dry skins and pips to dispose of. In the past I’ve sold these for processing into industrial alcohol, but this year I delivered them to a local artisan distiller who makes a type of rustic brandy (Marc de Bourgogne). Pictured below is his still, which has been in continuous use since 1860…
I am delighted to see my waste skins being distilled into brandy, but this new arrangement does have one very minor ‘downside’…. Didier, the distiller, is passionate about his product, and of course a polite visitor can hardly decline to join him in assessing its many merits…
I’ll definitely be delivering to Didier next year, just maybe not at 9am!


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