The Maitre de Chai (Cellar Master) takes over from the winegrower. In the silence of winter under the faint cold light, he guides the wine towards its birth.
Little by little the cold takes over the site. The harvest is in, it’s time to take stock: satisfaction here, less there… there will always be something missing –the rain, the sun, or too much mistral –all that too is part of the vintage. In any case, “we did the best we could”. The musts, now safe, require all our attention. We can now work without pressure, in the calm. Cold and silent. We will use this cold environment to ventilate the reds, refine their color and clarify the fruit. The rosés and whites will remain on fine lees. This is the beginning of their slow maturation which will last in silence all winter. It’s not until February that the blending will start to draw the contours of this new vintage.
The aging of the reds spreads over at least 2 years, in vats or oak barrels depending of the variety and the year. The frequency and intensity of racking gradually shape the contours of these new wines. The tannins melt, the fruit matures, the clarity improves, the cold and time stabilise the components of the wine and the vintage emerges from the raw materials, there is still time….
Aging of wine at Chateau Bas takes place in oak barrels for the reds, whites and rosés that make up The Temple, and in vats for the others. ‘Wine that had a good birth is easier to raise.’ This maxim guides our winemaking efforts. All the care given to make good wine will be compensated at the moment of aging. The reds will be clarified 2 or 3 times in winter, blended in spring and left to rest until bottling. This occurs 2 or 3 y ears after harvest. Rosés and whites will be out more quickly. As early as March for some, in general Alvernègue. April or May for Pierres du Sud and May or June for the Temple.
The last, but not least, step in the process is the bottling. After all our efforts we want to offer a wine that meets the expectations of the consumer and the winemaker’s initial project. It is essential not to damage the wine and so for that reason a strict discipline is necessary. The whites and rosés are drawn from their lies as the bottling progresses. No fining will be carried out except for bentonite (clay) and only if proteins are present in large quantities. The day before bottling a
These few words attempt to tell the never-ending story of a wine making domain such as ours. It can not express the bond with the land or the luminous mornings of autumn or the human effort. The wine continues the story which unfolds every day yet there remains a trace, a breath , a perfume of history.