– Whole bunch harvesting and indigenous yeasts

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, balanced fermentation. 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.