Devatting in the chai, plus great news from Noëlla Morantin...
I dropped unannounced at Domaine Noella Morantin recently, wondering if they were still harvesting something, as Noella had told me the previous week that they should be still picking the Côt. They actually had finished the Côt the previous day as there was so little to pick, and they were busy devatting a maceration tank of Gamay that will be part of the cuvée La Boudinerie. I had the surprise to see Noella working almost knee-deep in the bottom of a vat and filling buckets of gamay grapes with a pitchfork. Not the easiest job to do and I'm sure that many winemakers have it done by someone else, but Noella says that she's been doing the devatting work from the very first years when she began to make wine, like for example when she worked at the nearby estate Les Bois Lucas.
This Gamay has been through a couple of weeks of maceration, this is a complement from the bigger, wooden tronconic vats where most of the maceration is taking place. When the carbonic-maceration time is considered over, the juice is racked and the pomace is taken out for pressing, here, through a conveyor belt.
As you know, spring was very beautiful and hot, here like in the rest of France, which yielded a very nice and early blossoming season. Then august was quite rainy which turned into some rot here and there and bigger grapes with the rain water. The juice is thus more diluted with an alcohol level at about 12 °. They began harvesting 19 days earlier than last year.
Having myself witnessed firsthand with Jean Foillard the pure color of fresh lees in the very seconds they're exposed to the air, I understand the magic of the lees. Wind to minute 3:25 on this video of mine.
You can see on the picture how intact indeed these grapes are, although I took the picture as Noëlla had almost reached the bottom of the vat and these grapes had to stand the weight of a big volume of grapes.
As soon as Lalita gets a bucket of Gamay grapes from Noëlla, she empties it on the conveyor belt which lifts them in continuum over the press, where the remaining juice will be extracted.
Noëlla's vineyard of Côt is a very old one, like 70 years old and many vines are missing as it has never been complanted to replace the voids, so she would make only 600 bottles if she didn't purchase additional grapes for her cuvée.
Watch Aurelia in Canada as she tastes Noëlla Morantin's Gamay La Boudinerie 2009.