Techniques for Pinot Noir

©Copyright Ben Rotter 2003-2008


Pinot Noir is often seen as a cantankerous grape variety. For many winemakers, it presents one of the ultimate winemaking challenges and is very much considered a "winemaker's wine".

A great variety of opinions exist as to how to make great dry red Pinot, most likely as a result of the wide variety in quality from Pinot grown in different years from different regions. This article reviews the varying techniques used to make dry red Pinot Noir wines with respect to grape quality and wine style. It provides a foundation upon which decisions can be made. Ultimately, the individual winemaker must discern which practice best suits their fruit and their set-up. This kind of judgement can only come with experience.

The old maxim "quality grapes can make poor wine but poor grapes cannot make quality wine" may apply even more so to Pinot. Pinot appears to react badly to extremes in yield and weather conditions and, perhaps for this reason, good Pinot is considered one of the wonders of the wine world whereas poor Pinot is generally considered to result in terrible or uninteresting wine. Whilst the primary focus of this article is oenological, some comments on viticulture regarding Pinot are discussed to form a backdrop. It must be stressed that the quality of the grapes is paramount in producing a great Pinot.


The aims in making Pinot depend, of course, on personal/consumer taste, the grapes used to make the wine, and the desired wine style. Nevertheless, the great Pinots of the world are generally considered to have the following desirable characteristics:

Appearance: cherry red-plum red colour.

Nose: show primary fruit characters of red/black berries (such as strawberry, cherry, blackcurrant, raspberry, and even sometimes violets, plums and prunes), may show spicy and herbal aromas, and perhaps more importantly, hay/earthy/barnyard/game/mushroom/truffle/fungal/cedar/sandalwood type aromas (especially with age). Oaked Pinots show more spicy (cinnamon, rosemary, peppermint), and coffee/coconut/smoky/chocolate/vanilla/mocha aromas.

Palate: great Pinots show what is often called "the peacock's tail" of flavours - where layers of black and red fruits unfold on the palate. They have rich, mouth-filling palates and, in particular, show a silky/viscous/luscious/velvety texture with a low to medium intensity of grainy tannins. The finish should be fresh, soft, and long. Great Pinots generally rely more on acid than tannin for structure. The silky mouth feel of a great Pinot is one of its most important features.

Style variations
Some believe Pinot should be concentrated and flavour packed whilst others believe it should be elegant and delicate. Pinot can be tannic but great Burgundian Pinots rarely show this characteristic.

Lighter styles tend to show more strawberry and red cherry rather than those with more body which tend to show riper fruit characters like raspberry and plum. Most would agree that carbonic maceration characters should not be overt (though more obvious in lighter styles) and that stalk/stem and oak characters should not dominate the fruit characters.

Conservative winemaking (using, for example, 100% destemming, cooler stainless steel fermentation, no lees ageing, less oak / shorter periods of oak ageing) tends to result in more simple and fruit forward wines. The more exploratory winemaking camp (using, for example, whole stems/clusters, oak fermentation, low/no SO2 use during lees ageing) may result in dried out, rough wines lacking in fruit.


The main problems with Pinot growth/quality include its susceptibility to rot, viruses and diseases (powdery and downy mildews, grey and black rot, fan and leaf roll), and over cropping.

It is important to understand the specific response of Pinot vines growing in a particular area. Whilst vine maturity and suitable clone selection play a vital role in producing great Pinot fruit, other viticultural aspects should be considered such as crop thinning, physiological ripeness at harvest and canopy management.

The variety

Pinot Noir is a thin skinned variety and the grape therefore contains naturally less tannin, colour and extract than other varieties (e.g. Syrah/Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon). The vine is moderately vigorous and produces clusters that are very small and compact (average cluster weight is 60-100 grams).

Climate and soil

Warmer climates tend to give more simplistic, cordial/jammy/sweet style wines. This is largely the result of ripening that is too fast. Cooler climates allow slower ripening resulting in (arguably) better flavour development and structure.

Pinot grows well in many soil types. Soils on which Pinot is planted in Burgundy are predominantly limestone based (in better appellations). Compared to varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which enjoy gravels and sands, Pinot tends to do well in heavier, clay-loams and silty-clay-loams. Grand Cru soils in Burgundy contain an average of 30-40% clay.

Like any grape, Pinot enjoys well drained soils. Moderate depth is recommended for water retention purposes. Shallow soils do not provide sufficient water for the vines over periods of low rain and deep soils offer an excess of water resulting in vegetative growth (leading to shaded canopies, poor fruit development and increased risk of bunch rot).

Dense planting for Pinot is fairly popular and is believed to encourage root competition between the vines and give more intensely flavoured grapes. Some consider a dense planting to be above 5000 vines per hectare (2000 vines per acre). However, this might be considered by some as liberally dense. 10 000 vines/ha (4000 vines/acre) would certainly be considered dense (this equates to a roughly 1 by 1 meter spacing in the vineyard).

Clone selection

Ampelographers are often quoted as estimating that there are 200 clones (genetic mutations) of Pinot Noir. This figure is often even suggested as an underestimate, with the true magnitude at possibly 1000. Prudent clone selection to match the growing site is an important consideration in producing quality Pinot as it can improve resistance to rot, winter cold hardiness, yield issues, and fruit quality (colour, flavour, sugar and extract). Planting many different clones, then fermenting the different clones in separate batches and blending for complexity and balance is common practice.

In France there are now 50 certified of which 15 are significantly propagated.

In New Zealand
Popular clones in New Zealand include the earlier imported widely planted AM 10/5 and 2/10, and the Davis clones 5 (Pommard), 6 and 13. Results of the Dijon clones 113, 114, 115, 667, 777 and 375 (which were planted in the early 1990s) are now being seen.
The NZ Grape Vine Improvement Group presents some data on the features of different clones.

In California
Popular clones in California include (but are not limited to): 777, 667, 115, 114, Pommard (Davis clone 5), Dijon, and Martini.

Clone 777 is characterised as possessing strong black fruits.
Clone 667 is characterised as rough and possessing black fruit and gamey notes.
The Pommard clone shows a dense, chewy texture and a "sweeter" nose.
Clone 115 is seen as lighter.

In New York
Recommended clones for NY include FPMS 29 (Jackson), Mariafeld, and Pernand. These were recommended by Cornell University's Geneva Experimental Station following extensive Pinot Noir Clonal Research.

In Australia
Popular clones include (but are not limited to): MV6, D2V5, G5V15, B114, and the Dijon clones 777, 667, 114, 115, 375, as well as 386 and 521.
(For more, see Cowham, Simon and Hurn, Anna, French Pinot Noir clones - an Australian perspective, The Australian Grapegrower & Winemaker, April 2001.)

In General
Clones 114, 115 and 777 are recognised as producing high quality wine in most cool climate regions the world over.

Rootstock, yields, vine age

The best Pinot generally comes from low yielding, mature vineyards. Pinot grape quality is generally regarded as particularly sensitive to yield. The best grapes and most intensely concentrated/flavoured juice come from yields of 20-40 hl/ha. It is generally considered that high quality cannot be achieved above 3 tonnes per acre (7.4 tonnes/ha). The legal limit (AOC regulated) in Burgundy is 45 hl/ha.

Pruning or green harvesting should be carried out to keep yields low if necessary. For example, Henri Jayer, Dom. de la Romanée-Conti and Domaine Ponsot (who believe 90% of a wine is made in the vineyard and 10% in the winemaking) "green harvest" in summer to reduce yields. Charles Rousseau of Domaine Armand Rousseau in Gevrey-Chambertin claims a 1 % potential alcohol gain from green harvesting.

The use of fertilization, pesticides, and herbicides might also be considered. (Lalou-Bize and Domaine Leroy, for example, take a different approach using biodynamic farming methods.)

Pinot vines are reputed to die on average after 30-35 years, making Pinot shorter lived than other Vitis vinifera varieties.

Harvest parameters

Harvest should be based on flavour and phenolic development as well as sugar and acidity. A typical juice analysis of fruit at harvest would give: pH 3.2-3.6, TA 7-10 g/l (tartaric), Brix 21-26 (~11-14 Be).


General Handling

Pinot is a thin skinned grape variety and it is generally believed that careful handling is required when working with Pinot grapes.


The destemming issue is one of the most controversial in making Pinot Noir. Some winemakers use them to add tannic structure, spicy aromatics and flavours and increased weight and body. On the other hand some producers do not destem whatsoever, in the belief that stems add undesirable vegetal (stalky or haylike) flavours, decrease colour and add excessive amounts of astringent tannin. Some destem 100%, while others destem 80-90%.

It is important that any stems included in any maceration regime are ripe (hard and brown, not at all green). Unripe stems should not be added lest they impart vegetal or herbaceous flavours/aromas. It might also be noted that crushers, destemmers, and the practice of pumping over all tend to break up the stems. It is usually recommended that these practices be avoided when using whole clusters so as to prevent the release of harsh substances (acids, tannins).

It is worth noting that some Pinot clones may be slightly deficient in tannin and the addition of stems can compensate for this.

Overall, the addition of stems to the fermentation has become less popular in recent years. The critics note an excess of woody/stemmy/vegetal character in many wines which have used them. However, if wines are left to age stem character/influence tends to decrease. Of course, it ultimately depends on the fruit quality as to whether the addition of stems is suitable or not.

Whole Clusters

It is common to add a proportion of whole clusters (uncrushed, with stems intact). Rates typically vary in the range 0-50% but the most common rates used are 10-30%. Whole berries ferment slower and tend to maintain lower temperatures, which potentially preserve/increase fresh fruit aromas. Whole clusters also enhance spicy (vanilla, clove and cinnamon) characters, and give softer/smoother tannins. The inclusion of whole clusters can also assist in drainage through the cap resulting in better structural and aroma/flavour extraction.

Cluster/Stem/Whole berry Management

The skill in cluster/stem/whole berry management lies in achieving a balance between tannic extraction (from the addition of stems) and the fruit character and palate balance (modified by the inclusion of whole berries, fermentation temperature, etc).

Maceration and Fermentation Regimes

Maceration and fermentation temperature regime is another large point of difference in making Pinot. If diversity of opinion could be classified into two main schools of thought they would be:
(1) the belief that cold soaking (pre-fermentation) and fermentation at relatively cooler temperatures are required to better extract the aromatics of Pinot, and that hotter fermentations tend to cause aromatic blow-off and loss of the "feminine" character and finesse of Pinot,
(2) the belief that cold soaking and fermentation at warmer temperatures are required to extract better aromatics (including more vinous character) and more extract.

Fermentation temperature Advocates of cooler temperatures ferment at 16-21°C (60-70°F). Cold fermentations (<16°C or so) are claimed by some to fail to extract the "berry centre" of fruit flavours and result in a more cordial-like wine. Cooler fermentation does, however, result in a more fruit forward wine than warmer fermentation. Advocates of warmer temperatures extract colour, flavour and body through heat as well as alcohol. They usually ferment at 21-30°C (70-85°F), sometimes with a high temperature spike of 30-32°C (86-90°F).

Cold soaking

A pre-fermentation cold maceration (or "cold soak") involve an aqueous extraction, rather than an alcoholic extraction, and can extract colour, aromatics, fruitiness, and mouthfeel/width ("flesh"/"fat"). Typical cold soaks on Pinot are conducted at about 4-10°C (39-50°F) and last 4-7 days, though some winemakers extend this to the more unusual length of 10 days, or even up to 14 days in some cases. Sulphite levels for this period are often taken to 30-50 mg/l. The cap is punched down (twice per day) to keep it wet and the must stirred to ensure even mixing (of colour and juice, which tend to separate).

Saignée / Bleeding

This process involves drawing of usually 10-30% of the juice from the crushed fruit. It causes an increase in the ratio of skins to juice which in turn increases the colour and skin aromatics extracted. This is therefore a useful technique for such a thin skinned variety as Pinot. Saignée is sometimes followed by a cold maceration for 3-4 days (up to 12°C or 55°F). The juice drained off is often made into a rosé style wine. The procedure is often used when rains have diluted the grapes.


Wild (or indigenous) yeast is often used to make Pinot Noir. Many winemakers believe wild strains give greater complexity in the finished wines. Wild yeasts are reputed to impart a creamier texture to the palate and potentially more mushroomy/earthy aromas.

Popular cultured yeasts for Pinot include Assmanshausen and RC212 Bourgovin. Some winemakers use D254, 71B (Narbonne) for enhanced fruitiness, or Rhône strains such as L-2056.

Carbonic maceration

Some Pinot Noirs are fermented with limited carbonic maceration. This process involves placing the whole grapes in a tank which is filled with carbon dioxide (to prevent oxygen contact). The enzymes present in the grapes then convert sugar to ethanol up to about 2% abv, after which pressing takes place and the fermentation is completed with yeast.

When a significant factor in making Pinot, whole berries or grape bunches (10-20% for minimal effects, or 30-40% for a more overt effect) may be included in the must. The effect of carbonic maceration is to give a softer wine (less acidity and tannin), with a more fruity (and sometimes quoted spicy, e.g. cinnamon) character.

Fermentation maceration

The cap is usually punched at least 3 times per day (at least every 6-8 hours). Fermentation typically lasts from 6 to 18 days depending on the level of extraction desired.


Pressing is best determined by the colour and phenolic development of the wine, but is almost always done at or near dryness (Brix 0) and almost never above Brix 5. Brix 0 tends to be favourable where maximum extraction is desired and, since Pinot is a lighter coloured grape, maximum colour extraction is often the intention. This is the usual practice in Burgundy.

Pressing is usually light and the free run and press fractions are usually combined.

Barrel fermentation

Pinot is rarely (if ever) fully fermented in barrel. This is mainly because it is difficult to pulp ferment in barrel. Sometimes, however, the wine is pressed before dryness and finishes fermentation in barrel (e.g. pressing and transfer at Brix 8). Barrel fermentation is alleged to give better oak integration and lend more spicy flavours.

Délestage (de l'estage)/ Rack and return

Délestage is a technique which increases the interactions and mixing between the pomace and must/wine during maceration.

Juice/wine from the bottom of the fermenting vat is drawn off and thoroughly aerated before arriving in a separate storage vessel. Seeds and stems can be separated via a screen at this point. The pomace then at the bottom of the vat is completely drained (over a number of hours). The juice/wine in the separate storage vessel is then pumped back into the vat over the pomace.

The process boasts the following benefits:
  • helps pomace to bulk wine contact (extraction and less chance of undesirable microflora developing in the cap)
  • removes lees at the bottom of the vat, potentially reducing reductive tones
  • colour is stabilised by fixing anthocyanins
  • minimises tannins/phenolics (especially with removal of seeds) whilst retaining fruitiness
  • oxidative polymerisation of tannins takes place during draining leading to more supple texture
  • removal of seeds reduced dryness, astringency, bitterness and the presence of harsh phenols
  • the wines possess less structure but are more approachable when young and still ageable

  • Some argue, however, that conducting délestage with ripe fruit can lead to a wine with less structure than what it deserves. The technique might (arguably, should) therefore be reserved for wines showing excessive tannins when fermented with seeds and with less aeration, or for under ripe grapes with immature seeds and stems.

    Extended maceration

    Some winemakers conduct a post fermentation maceration on the skins ("extended maceration"). The tannins in the wine polymerise during this period yielding a softer wine. It is important to protect the wine from oxidation (usually done by sparging the headspace with inert gas) and to regularly taste check the wine (for polymerisation and H2S development) during this period. Pressing is usually done when the tannins begin to polymerise (tannins become obviously softer), which may be around 14-20 days into the extended maceration.

    Hydrogen Sulphide

    Many claim that Pinot is prone to hydrogen sulphide (H2S) formation. However, with healthy grapes and sufficient nutrients it is unlikely for H2S to develop.

    Many winemakers feel that an early racking after pressing is necessary to avoid H2S. Whether at pressing or after MLF, they feel it is beneficial to take the wine off the gross lees. The common reasoning for this is to take the wine away from a reductive state and to reduce the quantity of lees which can potentially cause H2S problems.

    Malolactic Fermentation (MLF)

    Most Pinots benefit from MLF. MLF not only helps to attenuate high malic acid concentrations (Pinot being a cool climate grape), but is also reputed to contribute complexity. Pinots are usually put through a full, rather than a partial, MLF.

    When to inoculate is a decision determined more by the individual winemaker's preference rather than a stylistic judgement.

    Some winemakers use wild ML bacteria rather than cultured strains in the belief that these lend more complexity to the wine.

    Sulphur Dioxide

    The most secure approach is to bring the wine to around 0.6 mg/l molecular SO2 after MLF. However, some winemakers extend the period without SO2 to beyond the end of MLF, arguing that this lends more complexity to the wine.


    Most winemakers believe a minimal handling approach is beneficial for Pinot. Pinot is reputed to "remember" anything done to it. Racking schedules vary from every 4-6 months to (some winemakers only conducting) 2-3 rackings during the whole pre-bottling life of the wine. Those leaning towards the minimalist intervention philosophy tend to rack from the fermentation/pressing, allow the wine to sit on its lees, perhaps racking once during this period, followed by a light fining (and possibly racking after fining lees has formed) and a final racking before bottling.

    Sur Lie & Bâtonnage

    Pinot generally benefits from lees contact, which adds depth, palate weight and complexity to the wine. Some winemakers perform minimal lees stirring (once to a few times, spread out over the months), arguing that it assists in clarifying the wine.



    American oak is generally considered unsuitable for Pinot. French oak is usually deemed more suitable for the delicateness of Pinot due to its more subtle and delicately scented character. French barriques (Burgundy types) with medium char level are probably the most commonly used. However, some producers age in a combination of both French and American oak for increased complexity in more muscular styles.


    The use of new oak in Burgundy is a controversial issue. The trend in Premier and Grand Cru Burgundies is towards the use of more new oak, however there are some who despise its use. Probably most of the Burgundian producers use 50-100% in their Premier and Grand Cru wines. Robert Parker argues that "great wines have emerged more from an elevated use of new oak than from the absence of it." [Parker, Robert M. Jr., Parker's Wine Buyer's Guide, 5th Ed., Dorling Kindersley, 2000]

    Ultimately, the types and proportions of oak used need to be matched to the particular characteristics of the individual Pinot. More muscular Pinots (with more tannin, acid structure and more flavour) should be able to handle new oak but lighter styles may be overpowered by new wood.

    Toast level

    A variety of toast levels are used to make Pinot. It is not out of the ordinary to see Pinot aged in heavily toasted oak.

    Time spent ageing

    Pinot Noir is usually aged for between 12 and 24 months. The traditional length of time in Burgundy is 12-18 months.

    Flavour influence

    Oak influence usually gives Pinot Noirs more spicy/coconut/smoky/chocolate/mocha characters.

    Cellar temperature

    This can play a considerable role in the ageing or élevage ("upbringing") of a wine. A consistently cool cellar is considered an advantage, allowing wine to evolve slowly and elegantly.

    Fining and Filtering


    This is an especially contentious issue when it comes to Pinot. One thing is certain: Pinot Noir should be handled delicately. Being a delicate wine, filtration of any kind is considered by many to be detrimental to quality (loss of flavour and colour). Most commercial producers of Pinot do not sterile filter. However, at least in part this may be attributed more to the consumer backlash against filtration (promoted by wine critics) than to their belief in the detriment of the process itself.

    Many Pinot makers believe that pumping the wine can exert too much stress on the wine. Some attribute this to oxidation, others to the actual physical forces the pump exerts on the wine. This not only applies to the filtering process, but to any pumping-over or post-fermentation pumping such as at pressing.

    Bentonite fining

    Most red wines have sufficient tannin to be heat stable. However, given that Pinot is often low in tannin it is not uncommon for Pinot to throw a protein deposit/haze. Bentonite may be used to solve this problem. Bench testing is encouraged and recommended, however a light bentonite fining (0.25 g/l) is usually sufficient as a ballpark figure.

    Protein fining

    Organoleptic fining to soften rough edges is usually done with egg whites, isinglass, gelatine, or casein. Gelatine is considered by many to be too aggressive for Pinot. Egg whites are perhaps the most popular fining agent used to reduce tannins in Pinot. Being a less aggressive protein agent, they tend to absorb long-chained tannins which appear softer, thus reducing astringency. Bench testing is encouraged and recommended, however 0.4-0.6 g/l egg white provides a rough guide.

    Timing of fining

    Pinot Noir tends to be low in phenols. Phenols link to anthocyanins forming stable colour pigments. Some winemakers therefore fine early (within 4 months of fermentation) to remove polymeric tannins before they become bound in a stable, co-pigmented form. There are, however, winemakers who believe early fining is disadvantageous for Pinot.

    Fining Trials / Bench testing

    If organoleptic adjustments are to be made using protein fining agents, conducting fining trials with a variety of fining agents is highly recommended before fining large batches of wine.


    Bottling is usually done at the end of the "time spent ageing" period outlined above, i.e. typically 12-18 months post-fermentation.

    Flash-heating / pasteurising

    This technique is rarely used and involves heating the wine to 60°C (140°F) for three seconds or so with the intention of killing microorganisms. Latour uses this technique on the wine just before bottling and, according to the négociant, it makes it possible to do a lighter filtration on the wine.

    Techniques for Given Problems

    ProblemPotential Solution
    rain bloated grapes, high yields saignée, longer fermentation maceration
    insufficient colour cold soaking, saignée, pressing at Brix 0
    under ripe grape(s) (seeds) délestage and removal of seeds
    lack of berry character cooler fermentation, carbonic maceration, use of whole clusters, reduce stem content
    rough tannins délestage, extended maceration, reduce stem content
    rough tannic edges (at maturation) protein (egg white) fining
    lack of body more tannic extraction (at fermentation), sur lie ageing, chaptalisation (for more alcohol)
    unintegrated oak barrel fermentation
    protein deposit/haze bentonite fining

    Common Oenology Regimes/Schedules for Pinot

    Listed below are schedules followed by some of the most famous winemakers in Burgundy. It should be stressed that changes are made to schedules from year to year depending on fruit quality and the following regimes present an outline only.

    Traditional Burgundian

    There are, of course, many variations within the traditional Burgundian approach to making Pinot. However, if a predominant outline could be given it would most probably be as follows:

  • gentle grape handling (e.g. hand harvesting, use of conveyer belts)
  • 100% destemming (usually)
  • possible cold maceration (3-4 days)
  • use of wild yeast
  • 10 day fermentation
  • fermentation in small open-top vats with a punching down every 6 hours
  • high peak fermentation temperature (e.g. 28-33°C / 83-91°F)
  • 12-18 months ageing in French oak
  • fining if necessary (usually egg white)
  • no filtration

  • Guy Accad

    The oenologist Guy Accad, so influential in the 1980's, maintains one of the most controversial approaches to making Burgundian Pinot Noir. His philosophy consists of:

  • densely spaced vineyards
  • encouraged later picking
  • destemming in proportion to stem ripeness (usually 50-75%)
  • employment of an extended pre-fermentation cold maceration (up to 10 days and usually over 7, at 5-10°C (41-50°F))
  • sulphuring at the output of the crusher (rather than the vat of crushed grapes)
  • fermenting slow at cool temperatures for (usually) around 25 days

  • This philosophy tends to produce dark wines with abundant fruit. Opponents of this philosophy argue that the approach leads to wines which do not age well. They believe that the techniques negate the expression of terroir and that the wines are un-Burgundian, often being likened more to the wines of Côte Rôtie.

    Henri Jayer

    Henri Jayer, who purportedly inspired Accad's philosophy, takes a similar approach though less extreme with:

  • 5-7 days cold maceration (cold soak) for colour, richness, aromatics and palate weight
  • no saignée (Jayer claims wines made with saignée do not stand > 5-6 years in bottle)
  • fermentation in open tanks (avoiding wood vats which he feels can impart off-aromas)
  • fining with egg whites until 1990
  • no filtering
  • 18 months in 100% new oak before bottling

  • Domaine Jean Grivot

    Jean Grivot once employed Guy Accad but now follows a more gentle winemaking approach:

  • dense planting (11 000 vines per hectare)
  • crop thinning at the end of August/beginning of September
  • careful grape selection/sorting
  • 95% destemming
  • 4 day cold maceration
  • use of natural yeast
  • 14-18 day fermentation with daily punching down and pumping over
  • 40 percent new oak (premiers crus and grands crus)
  • addition of tannin powder to stabilise colour and avoid oxidation
  • 18-20 months in oak with an average of two rackings during this time (30% new oak, Allier, Nièvre, Vosges)
  • no fining
  • no filtering

  • The Grivot style might be summed up as pure, elegant, well defined and well balanced.

    Domaine Dujac

    Jacques Seysses and son Jéremy frequently employ the following regime:

  • yields are typically 40-45 hl/ha
  • short pruning (maximum of six buds per cane)
  • green pruning just before veraison (not earlier)
  • saignée
  • 60 percent destemming (2001 harvest)
  • (4-6 day cold soak)
  • (use of wild yeast)
  • whole-berry fermentation
  • (fermentation temperature peak of 27-28°C (81-82°F))
  • extended maceration (30 days total maceration)
  • delay of malolactic fermentation with less racking and longer sur lees ageing (for more voluptuous mouthfeel)
  • 100% new oak
  • light fining
  • no filtering

  • Maison Louis Jadot

    Those at Maison Louis Jadot disagree that Pinot aromatics are extracted only through cold maceration and conduct a long fermentation maceration at high temperatures. (Philippe Leclerc, Dom. Ponsot and Georges Mugneret also follow this regime.) The schedule is as follows:

  • hand harvesting
  • grape sorting
  • destemming
  • saignée with high yields (20-30% bled)
  • natural yeast
  • long maceration in open wooden or stainless steel tanks, or auto-vinification vats for 25-30 days during which time fermentation takes place at high-end temperatures for maximum extraction
  • punching down twice a day
  • malolactic fermentation in 228 litre French barriques
  • 10-20 months of ageing in barrels
  • average of 30% new oak
  • no fining prior to bottling
  • very light filtration (if absolutely necessary)

  • Domaine Leroy practises no destemming, a 5-6 day cold soak, long fermentation with wild yeast, 15-18 months ageing in 100% new Allier oak, and no fining or filtering. Jayer uses 100% new oak, whilst Bourée & Jadot use less, and Dom. Ponsot none at all.