B&B AND WINE in FRANCE
Have you ever noticed that, year in year out, wines always have the same alcohol content on the label? This is simply due to a regulating method called chaptalisation. Named after the Minister of Agriculture Jean Chaptal in 1801 this involves adjusting the level of alcohol in wine by adding sugar during the fermentation.
Most gamay producers add sugar every year to increase the alcohol content of their wine.
By measuring the specific density of the grape juice at harvest time, it is possible to determine the natural sugar level At Domaine du Fontenay, the aim is to achieve a high level of NATURAL SUGAR in the grapes and avoid adding any sugar at all. This is extremely difficult to achieve on a regular basis as it involves keeping yields low and careful vineyard management to maintain rot-free grapes in order to pick as late as possible.
In a nutshell, the wine maker must decide to go
*EITHER for high yields and pick not perfectly ripe grapes early and add sugar
*OR to limit yields , pick late, ripe grapes and produce wine with a natural alcoholic level.
For obvious reasons, the latter is more natural but is also much more tricky to achieve. It is the option preferred by Domaine du Fontenay