ELEMART ROBION’S KNOW-HOW
Mastery of vine handling
Domaine Elemart Robion winegrowers render their philosophy through the way they handle their vines.
Ensuring the preservation of the vines’ and grapes’ good development and sanitary conditions, and natural prevention of attacks are basic guidelines.
That is why, at the end of winter, manual ploughing and weeding will neutralize the greedy grass and limit damages due to spring frosts. This will also help deep rooting of the vines; guarantee of a rich expression of the Terroir and persistent minerality of the upcoming wines.
On the other hand, at the end of flowering, the natural grass growth is left alone. The competition thus generated directs the various attacks on the grass and distracts them from the vines and grapes.
It is important to mention that the addition of organic matter complements increases microbial activity of the soil. It is made of compost produced at the Domaine over a period of 6 months, from local and natural products. Another essential point is that the vineyard is also subject to a special protection recipe, made of herbal teas, plant extracts and essential oils.
Furthermore, disbudding and systematic removal of excess branches aiming to harvest only the best grapes, quantity control and optimization of aromatic concentration and sugar/acid balance of the juices.
Hence, everything is done to serve the vine and the grapes it will produce. As such, trimming and pruning techniques are also relevant. Chosen techniques are noble: “cordon de Royat » and “Chablis”. They guarantee good air passage, spread the growth of vegetation and participate to the control of yields. Maturation of the grapes and aromatic concentration thus become richer. Trimming, meanwhile, is here of high technique, chosen for its favourable action on photosynthesis, and its corollary, a superior quality of vinification.
ELEMART ROBION KNOW-HOW
The Harvest Rendez-Vous
Harvest is done manually. Seeked alcohol potential is 10° for Pinot Meunier and 10.5° for Petit Meslier, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. These numbers, combined to a tasting of the grapes before harvest, will contribute to the appropriate sugar/acid balance for gourmand Champagnes with pleasing freshness. Good ripeness of the grapes is also validated by controlling the colour of their seeds.
Selective sorting is done. Only beautiful and healthy grapes are harvested and pressed, and this task is exclusively given to previously trained and entrusted personnel.
It is therefore done first by the pickers at the plot, under the sharp and critical eye of Thierry Robion.
And, within our obligation of perfection, once in the press house, the grapes are subject to a second test, this time, under the supervision of Thierry’s son Eloi.
Pressing and Débourbage
The quality of Champagnes is directly linked to the possibilities offered by the juices born from the various plots.
Pressing is done in two presses, one of 2000 kg and the other of 4000 kg, in order to press, one by one, the grapes coming from the different plots, and differentiate each “territory”. Only Cuvée juices are used; first press that contains the best of the grapes’ promise. The waiting period between harvesting and pressing is less than 2 hours, avoiding alteration of the juices and loss of aromas and freshness.
Finally, the « débourbage » (separation of the deposits from the must) is static, as gravity does the job. It lasts a minimum of 24 hours, at a temperature around 16 degrees, in thermoregulated vats. Here again, alteration of the juices and freshness and aromas loss are avoided.
ELEMART ROBION KNOW HOW
Juices to Wines : Vinification
The vats room where juices will transform into wines called “vins tranquilles” (clear wines) counts 22 stainless steel thermoregulated vats that can contain 12, 25, 35 and 50 hectolitres.
Such a vats room is adapted to a vinification by plot. It allows the isolation of the juices of each “territory”, promises of various riches of expressions and creativity.
Indigenous yeasts launch fermentation. This fermentation will later be fed by seeding using selected exogenous yeasts. The malolactic fermentation is done to bring suppleness to the wines and bringing them more gourmand. This fermentation does not alter the freshness, thanks to the selection of perfect ripeness during harvest – synonym of good sugar/acid balance.
This is how we could describe how the winegrowers of our Domaine seek to smoothly move these wines born of one single Cuvée, avoiding stressing them, and keeping all their potential riches intact.
For this, clear wines are left to rest on lees, in vats, for 4 months, followed by one single racking, to bring more aromatic complexity. In the purpose of creating blends and bottling, a peristaltic pump is used to move the wines, making sure their nature is respected.
ELEMART ROBION KNOW HOW
And a Champagne is born
It’s The Moment of Truth! With this year’s harvest range of wines, combined with, perhaps, and depending on their listening, with wines of previous years (called Reserve wines), the winegrowers will compose a magical partition.
Each grape variety and each plot finally reveal their inheritance. Once, twice, three times, the clear wines are tasted, evaluated and appreciated, one for its freshness, one for its gourmand, one for its structure, all for their present and future riches.
At the right time, at the end of a morning, when the taste buds open up to the best, the choices are made collegially, as a family. Choices born from a shared evidence.
The assembled wines, inoculated with selected yeasts, are then bottled. The production of carbon dioxide (process called “Prise de Mousse”) lasts about 5 weeks, and a beautiful effervescence ensues. The bottles will rest horizontally, on wooden laths, for a least 2 years; a blessed period that slowly releases the aromas retained.
Only a “poignettage” (shaking the bottles) will disturb this rest; an essential manual practice to put back the lees in suspension and bring roundness to Champagne.
The cellar then becomes its own private universe. It shelters the slow and patient development of all our hopes of riches.
At the agreed term, the winemakers will taste these Champagnes several times, to determine the right date of their departure to the land of Parties, Tables and Pleasure.
All there is left to be done is to measure the dosage; the addition of this secret liquor which gives the final balance to Champagne. 4 grams per litre is the maximum added here, thus qualifying our Champagnes as extra Brut, and respecting all the authentic expressions of our Terroir.
Finally, after six months, it is the possible journey to you, and… to imagine you enjoying our work, to read wonder on your face, to feel your happiness, is the consecration of the feeling we share with you, of all the values contained in a Elemart Robion organic Champagne flute.