A particularity of Domaine Prieuré Roch
is the use of stems.
We talk of whole bunch harvesting,
and the domaine uses 100% whole bunches
in all our wines, all our vintages.
The stem is very important for us,
it’s a safeguard.
Because we are obliged to work
at such low yields,
we make sure the stems are fully ripe.
On sunny enough years like 2009
full ripeness is no problem,
but for rainier years like 2008 or 2011
it’s obvious that if yields are too high,
the stems will never reach full ripeness.
So it’s something essential
that ensures we never overproduce.
The stem is also important because,
as the berry stays attached to the stem,
there is no loss of juice.
This creates a maceration phenomenon
inside the grape,
which develops many aromas.
Finally, the stems serve as drains,
allowing yeasts to circulate in the cuve,
resulting in an even,
Speaking of yeasts, here at Prieuré Roch
we ferment with 100% indigenous yeasts,
meaning the yeasts
naturally present on the grapes.
The reasons for this are twofold.
From one plot to another
there are different yeasts,
and if in Burgundy
we want to talk about ‘terroir’,
it’s obvious we must use the yeasts
from the plots in question.
Secondly, in using indigenous yeasts
there isn’t a “single” fermentation,
but rather a multitude of fermentations,
one after the other.
At the start, grapejuice is mostly sugars,
where the conditions
for certain strains of yeast flourish.
Then as alcohol is produced
it kills this strain,
which is succeeded by
a more alcohol tolerant strain, etc.
Each fermentation follows
until the end of fermentation,
when we have one last strain of yeast
known as “finisseuses”,
which grow with very little sugar
are also very alcohol tolerant.