Montesquieu Winery Update: In the Cellar and Beyond
March 25, 2011, by: Lisa Duff Khajavi
In the Cellar
Our last cellar update in early December left off with our Montesquieu wines in barrel undergoing malolactic fermentation. Throughout the process, all of the barrels are constantly monitored and tasted to follow development closely— keeping our winemaker Hélène Mingot on her toes!
Each lot is unique and reaches the end of malolactic fermentation separately. The entire process was finished by early March, with all of our 2010 wines having proceeded to aging in our custom French oak barrels, which is where we are now.
The story behind our barrels is a result of a long-standing relationship that Stéphane Derenoncourt has had for years with a small French cooperage in business for generations. Stéphane and Hélène greatly value working directly with their trusted source, who procures only the best single-forest wood from very specific sustainable forests.
Sourcing just the right trees from the Troncais forest in Allier and the Jupilles forest in Sarthe is quite an undertaking. Many of the forests in France are owned by the government and managed by the French Forestry Commission (ONF). In order to get the best wood, you need to be a master of the process, which is really quite tricky!
Each year coopers have all summer to inspect the trees, culminating in a silent auction in September. The expertise of the cooper is key—requiring years of experience to be able to evaluate and identify the trees with the correct grain density that will result in the quality staves that top level wine producers demand. Our source is a true master, selecting the very best trees and crafting consistently excellent barrels to match Stéphane and Helene’s very specific requests.
Another cherished relationship is our cork producer in Spain, a very small grower/producer who owns his own trees and is responsible for the cork from growing, to harvest to final production. His gift of selecting trees with the perfect density combined with his ability to oversee every step is crucial to ensuring maximal quality.
As Spring gets into full swing we will keep you posted with a vineyard update soon, as well as any other developments in the cellar and beyond.
It is this culmination of quality from grapes to bottle that shines, reflected in every detail from the land, to the grapes, in the cellar, and all the materials we choose. As part of our mission to connect wine lovers more closely with the hands and the land that make our wines, we commit to the best for every step!
Cheers to wine lovers everywhere from Montesquieu Winery!