Our know-how

Respect for Nature

The vineyard

Feuille de vigneIt has never been treated with a single drop of weed killer or chemical fertilizer. Repeated ploughing keeps the soil full of life and encourages the vines to send their roots down deep. To limit soil compaction we use caterpillar-track tractors; they are the only kind that can reach the summit of the famous “Clos du Fou”, the mythical, south-facing plot of Syrah planted on a deep schist hillside so steep that even donkeys struggle to climb it.

The trellising and pruning methods ensure maximum leaf surface, and allow us to work efficiently, be it to tend the vines or harvest the grapes with maximum respect; green harvesting means only 6 or 7 extremely healthy bunches are left. Natural ground cover helps keep the soil well-aired and prevents erosion.

The secret of the wines of Château des Estanilles is contained within this methodology, and it is the reason for which the work done in the vineyard is by far the most important, representing 80% of our time.

Harvesting

Our grapes are harvested by hand, at optimal ripeness, to ensure premium quality. They are transported in small bins to avoid crushing. For each variety, the bunches are sorted, destemmed and then crushed. We take great care to handle the grapes as gently as possible, to protect the fine, velvety tannins that are a distinguishing mark of Estanilles wines.

Grenache, Carignan, Cinsault and Mourvèdre are currently blended at vinification; only Syrah is vinified separately.

 

cuves et process

Winery and maturation

A long period in tank (up to 40 days for the Syrah) followed by careful pumping over allows us to extract and keep the very best tannins and colour, which gives Estanilles wines the desired aromatic complexity and the optimal extraction of health-enhancing polyphenols (resveratrol and flavonoides). We use the most modern preventative technology and keep sulphur to a strict minimum; it is used to stabilize the wines.

They are matured in medium toast French oak barrels, from four different suppliers who use wood that has been air-dried for 24 months; this gives a velvety texture to our Syrah, Mourvèdre and Grenache wines. Every year we buy 30 new barrels. The vat room and barrel cellar are scrupulously clean. The barrel cellar is half-sunk  in the ground, insulated, and kept at a regular temperature.

Bottling

Our modern bottling line means we can follow the production of our wines right through, from start to finish. Our point of difference is that we bottle our wines just before full moon, to help them age better.