Winter: Pruning

Delaying the pruning can influence bud development and thus minimise the risks associated with frost and diseases of the vine. The estate has always used the Single Guyot pruning method. However, keen to respect the balance of sap flow, Didier and Alexis have opted for a variant, moving gradually to Double Guyot on young vines, which is even more respectful of the plant.

SPRING – EARLY SUMMER: Trellising, Disbudding, Trimming, Ploughing

The branches are tied along the lowest trellis wire in order to channel the growth of the vine and promote the development of bunches.
Quite severe disbudding is carried out in order to distribute the foliage along the entire cane. This process protects the plant and ensures its good health. This also means that crop protection measures can be reduced, and products that are gentler on the environment can be used.
The vines are trimmed much higher than normal, following Didier Delagrange’s practice since 2008. But vines grow quickly and chaotically if they are not monitored. This method therefore requires more presence in the vineyard to lift and tie up the shoots, but it allows more leaves to develop and consequently better photosynthesis, very little verjuice and optimum phenolic ripeness.
As for the soil, ploughing at Domaine Delagrange has been the practice for a long time. Today everything is done by machine. The two wine growers choose to leave the soil bare for as short a time as possible, so ploughing starts late (in April) and stops early (mid-July).

END OF SUMMER: Sampling, Harvesting

When they are approaching the end of their growth cycle, the berries are tasted every day. The pulp, skin and seeds are chewed until the fruit is deemed fully ripe and the tannins soft. Once full maturity has been reached, only the finest bunches are picked, harvested by hand, transported in boxes, selected on the sorting table, and placed in vats using gravity in order to preserve the quality of the berries.

AUTUMN: Vinifying, Tasting, Vatting

For red wines, after alcoholic fermentation using indigenous yeasts, the grapes are punched down according to each cuvée and each vintage. The vats are sealed, and the fermentation temperatures kept high enough to let the grapes infuse. Every day, morning and evening, Alexis and Didier taste, deciding what needs to be punched down, pumped over or racked. Both father and son work together to customise the vinification, which depends on how each of the cuvées has developed.
After settling, the wines are put into barrels for 12 months, then placed in stainless steel vats for another six months. The maturation takes place in cold cellars with slow and gentle malolactic fermentation.