Vinification & Ageing
The winery has very modern equipment that is based on gravity. Every year, new investments are made to vinify with precision each plot of the vineyard: tractors, optical sorting machine, pneumatic presses, wooden thermo-regulated vats, conveyor-belt for filling the vats, bottle engravers… Each parcel is pressed, vinified and aged separately. In order to extract the specific features of every terroir, there may be up to 6 different cuvées from the same appellation. In general, the production volume of red wines is equal to this of the whites at Château de Meursault.
The vinification of white wines
The grapes are sorted, then placed in a pneumatic press to be slowly and progressively pressed. Next,the juice is left to decant during twelve hours and then put into oak barrels, or into vats to start the alcoholic fermentation. The length of fermentation and the frequency of stirring the lees (to enrich the wine) depend on the vintage and the terroir of each different wine, with the objective of increasing the richness of the wine and its aromatic complexity.
The vinification of the red wines
Once the crop arrives in the winery, it is destemmed and sorted by a state-of-the-art optical sorting machine: it has three infrared cameras that select the best quality grapes. Then, the bunches, the juice, pulp and skins of the grapes are put into the vats by the conveyor belt – this equipment helps to avoid the crushing of the crop.
As for the vinification of our best terroirs, it is done in wooden vats that bring depth and personality to the wine. Thus begins pre-fermentation maceration that helps extracting color and aromas. Depending on the vintage, the punching of the cap and pumping over are practiced during the fermentation.
These two techniques are used to extract the best of tannins and polyphenols. Finally, every day tasting are organized at the end of the fermentation in order to identify the exact date of the devatting and to see if any improvements should be done during the extraction so that the wines express all of its finesse and elegance.
The duration and the ageing methods (from 12 to 18 months) are determined according to the terroir and the vintage of every wine. The cellar master accurately follows the development of more than 1200 barrels per harvest, making sure that the best balance of each vintage is found.
Afterwards, the wines are bottled at the Château in the unique bottles which are identical to the 18th century flacons. They are aged in our cellars that can house up to 800 000 bottles, before being labeled and sold in France and abroad.
The cellars of Château
The cellars of Château de Meursault can be visited all year round: the tourists walk around the cellars where magnums, old vintages, Marc de Bourgogne (a traditional Burgundy spirit made from grape skins and aged for about 10-12 years) and of course barrels with the wine are being aged.
This biggest cellar, constructed in the 16th century in Cistercian style, has the surface of about 500m2 and is absolutely unique in Burgundy: about 800 wine barrels can be stocked in it and extra 1200 barrels are housed in other cellars of the Domaine.
As for the barrels, they are produced using French oak coming from two major regions – Allier and Vosges. The typical volume of the barrel in Burgundy is 228 litres and it is only used for 3 years. As soon as the barrels pass this age, they are resold to the coopers. Each wine has a different percentage of new and old oak barrels, but in general, there are about 30% of new barrels in a cuvee.