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ouis-Michel believes that once the grapes are put on the sorting table at the entry to the winery, 95 percent of the work has been done. The remaining five percent is not a recipe but the application of certain basic principles, a dose of intuition, and an understanding of each vintage.

The Domaine hopes to bring in the grapes, once ripe, as quickly as possible and to avoid harvesting a single parcel over a two day period.

The grapes are brought to the winery in small perforated cases that hold fourteen kilos of grapes, the small size used in order to avoid crushing the bunches. Sorting is done by a team of eight on a sorting table, the grapes are entirely destemmed and arrive in the vats by means of a conveyor belt without being pumped or crushed.

As soon as the grapes are in the vat, they are lightly sulphured and cooled down to a temperature below fifteen degrees C°; this temperature is maintained for around a week. This enhances the aromatics , essential element of the Domaine wines. After a week, the fermentations begin naturally within a few days without the use of non-indigenous yeasts.

The fermentation is done in about ten days and concluded, if necessary, with a delicate chaptalization added over two or three days depending on the vintage. During the fermentation, pumping over and ‘pigéage’ are regularly carried out. When the fermentations are finished, the wines are devatted based on tasting them three times a day, and according to the characteristics of the vintage.

The grapes are then pressed.

The free run wine and the press wine are then blended and left in vats to settle the lees, a process that takes close to ten days, before transferring the wines into barrel when they are as clear as possible, since the wines are rarely racked during the aging process. Clarification enzymes are used to hasten the process should the vintage require this step. The wines are put into barrel by gravity in the cellar.

The wines are aged in new oak: two different cooperages and three different forests. Malolactic fermentations begin naturally either before or after the first winter succeeding the harvest. The wines stay in barrel with the least number of rackings possible and with no additional sulphur until the racking preceding bottling.

This racking is done without pumping, the wines being pushed by air and blended (by appellation) in bottling vats, usually 13 to 15 months after harvest. The wines are then sulphured and left to rest for two to three months in tank. There is neither fining nor filtration before bottling.

Bottling is done by gravity with the help of a small bottling unit at the bottom of the tank. The bottles are corked with a corking machine enabling the air to be evacuated in the compression chamber. The corks are not placed in a large funnel but one by one in a column so that each cork can be verified so that the best end of the cork will come into contact with the wine.

The wines are then stocked in pallets and are shipped after at least two months of rest. Most of the wines leave the Domaine in wooden cases. Each bottle is wrapped in tissue paper and straw protectors (when authorized).
 
Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair
Château de Vosne-Romanée
21700 Vosne-Romanée
Tel: +33(0) 380 62 13 70 - Fax: +33(0) 371 70 00 50
Email : contact@liger-belair.fr