When it comes to winemaking, Montemaggiore takes the minimalist approach—we don't like to add to, subtract from, or otherwise manipulate the wine. This philosophy reflects the traditions of our Italian ancestors, who have proven that minimalism maximizes the preservation and expression of the unique flavors of the grapes' terroir.
Preserving our uniqueness
Being our winemaker, Lise believes that nature usually does the right thing when not interfered with—which is the way wine has been made for centuries. For example, we:
We process our grapes and age our wine with a gentleness and minimalism usually reserved for the finest Pinot Noirs (known to be the most sensitive of varietals).
- harvest at optimal ripeness by hand for clean, unbroken fruit
- destem the grape bunches gently with little or no crushing; and
- sort the grapes by hand to ensure careful selection
Control and Consistency
We fully integrate our vineyard and winery practices providing the control required for consistent high quality year after year. From the time the grapes are picked to the time that they are safely in a stainless steel tank can be as little as 30 minutes. This ensures cool, undamaged fruit that requires little manipulation, just gentle coaxing. Our tanks are designed to keep the fermentation cool in order to retain the beautiful, ripe fruit aromas while still maintaining enough heat to gain maximum extraction of flavor. The Syrah grapes are kept on the skins for a short period to emphasize its fruit-forward character and gentle tannins. The Cabernet Sauvignon grapes have the longest skin contact to emphasize structure and complexity natural to the varietal. We age our wines in a combination of new and neutral French oak barrels, taking care to fully integrate and never overpower the terroir-based flavors. We prefer to bottle our wines unfined and unfiltered to preserve their full, rich texture and body.
Just because we are minimalists, doesn't mean we don't like to experiment. For example, we've experimented with natural fermentations (also known as spontaneous fermentations), where we don't add yeast. We've experminted with whole cluster fermentations, in other words not destemming the grapes. Lise might even argue that both these experiments are even more minimalistic. Of the experiments, some have turned into regular practice, and others we won't repeat anytime soon—but either way, because we specialize in a single varietal and only utilize grapes from our own estate vineyards, our experiments are particularly edifying!
Because we, the owners, make Montemaggiore wine ourselves by hand with pride and personal care, our production is very limited. Through experience, we know that we should only harvest 4-5 tons of grapes per day in order to give each vineyard block individual attention in the winery. Each lot of wine is produced separately, and evaluated carefully for the final blend barrel by barrel. Our total wine production will always be limited to 2,000 cases so that we may handcraft the highest quality wine.
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