Some of our Baccarat wines, notably Brut Blanc de Blancs, Brut Rose Prestige and the Demi-sec require specially tailored stainless steel tanks that are temperature-regulated. They vary in size from 50 to 200 hl; the tanks are able to resist up to 10 bars of pressure.
La Cave de Genève has a large collection of stainless steel tanks for fermenting its white and rosé wines. For vinification and cooling-down during fermentation, 77 of the tanks are temperature-regulated. This is indispensable for controlling the wine’s temperature during fermentation and to refine its structure and flavour profile, among other parts of the process. It is also important for cold tartrate stabilization. The size of the tanks varies from 12.5 hl to 500 hl.
In September 2012 La Cave de Genève inaugurated its new fermentation tanks for red wines, which take advantage of the latest in technology. The 10 old stainless steel tanks (180 hl) were replaced by 14 temperature-regulated stainless steel ones: 7 truncated cone tanks of 190 hl; 7 cylindrical tanks of 220 hl. These 14 tanks are set up in 2 blocks of 7 tanks each, with each block measuring 10 metres high and weighing more than 3 tons each. All of the tanks are temperature controlled and equipped with pumps for the different tasks that are part of the remontage (pump-over) process.
Maturing wines in barrels demands close oenological attention and a significant amount of work at the moment when the barrels are filled with wine, to rack it and wash the oak casks. With room for more than 500 oak casks La Cave de Geneve owns one of the largest barrel aging cellars in Switzerland. It is here that the Clémence line wines are created and matured. The room is fully air-conditioned, with automatically adjusted humidity controls in order to avoid the wine evaporating too quickly. An ingenious storage system optimizes vertical stocking, thus reducing manipulation of the wine. The barrels spend their entire lives at the same place, without needing to be moved. The casks are generally used for 3 to 4 years.
Oenologists at La Cave de Genève select among various French oak barrels, which are widely known for the quality of the wood, manufacturing technique and their flavour delicacy. The knowledge and skills of the coopers added to the excellent matching between the types of oak containers and characteristics of the wines to be made dictate the oenologists’ choices. The main grape varieties that are oaked are Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Gamaret. The wines are generally matured in wood from 10 to 12 months. Maturing in oak casks gives the wines notes of wood that blend with those of the grape in question; it also gives a micro-oxygenation to the wine, which softens the tannins and stabilizes the colour.