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Domaine des Baumard: An Update

As I write this I’m sitting in a hotel next to Heathrow airport – on my way back from a flying visit to Hermitage. It’s been a madcap trip but it was great to walk again on the hill – it is 14 years since I last visited the region! I learnt a lot too.

It will take some time to write up my experiences, and in the meantime I soldier on with my Loire updates, and today some amendements, to my Baumard profile.

I posted my updated profile a few weeks ago now, and I’ve had a response to it from Florent Baumard himself, who has pulled me up on the use of the term “cryo-extraction” as to his preferred term “cryo-selection”. Perhaps it would be best if I reproduce here an abbreviated version (I’ve removed some asides referring to the VHL method of training vines) of Florent’s message:

“Dear Chris,

Thank you very much for these nice, and very, and fairly, instructive for readers, comments on our wines and practices. Sorry for this heavy phrase, my english writing is miles away from being light I am afraid, I just hope it is understandable and not too abrupt.

If you allow me, I’d like to suggest an important correction: [quoting my profile]

“…and the subsequent use of cryo-extraction to concentrate the juice prior to fermentation.”

“…The major difference here comes in the use of cryo-extraction to concentrate the juice prior to fermentation, …”

This is NOT right.

The Cryo-selection process does NOT concentrate, it only SELECTS. It is simply an additional “trie” (selection), issued from a separation between the richer grapes (raisins, not bunches of grape), which are the only (or partly) ones from which juice is extracted, and which give the final must.

The others, not so rich, being partly frozen, are simply rejected from the press with le marc de raisin, as well as water that may have been on the grapes (rain of rosée from night). It is important to mention it this way, because it is the reality, and also because then it really informs people, rather than guiding them to
the wrong thoughts they may have.

Cryo-SELECTION is the right word. And for that reason not always used, or needed the same way. And cannot be placed in the same bag as all other process which can be
used to concentrate, or repair initial bad work (osmose inverse etc…) To me cryo-selection it is to selection of grapes, what pneumatical presses did to quality of pressurage versus other presses. (my father got his first pneumatical press in 1969…)

And an explanation : [quoting my profile]

“… and – according to Florent – remove undesirable aromas and flavours from the wine (although I thought cryo-extraction concentrated rather than cleaned, so I am surprised to hear that the technique is capable of achieving this)…”

Again, cryo-selection does not concentrate, it selects, and this is the reason why the way the pressurage is led is VERY important. And indeed, while the juice we want to get out of the press is extracted, it has to go through the other grains de raisin (we call this le gateau de marc), and doing so, there is a sort of auto-filtration, through the grapes, and ice. A natural physical cure. The end of the pressée, if well driven, often produces pure clear juice, with no oxidation signs. This juice has very different tasting qualities.

Sorry to bother you with these details, but they are extremely important for us, and for peoples’ perception of the method in future. A sophism will not help.

Truly thank you again for your understanding and interest. As you are the first person to really clearly and simply treat that delicate subject. As I told you in Angers, no other wine lover, or writer ever looked at the subject objectively.

Very best regards,

Florent”

Interesting stuff. You can see how I have dealt with this in my Baumard profile – just under the Quarts de Chaume label image.

2 Responses to “Domaine des Baumard: An Update”

  1. How was Hermitage?
    “…fellow internet dude…” [wineanorak/blog]

  2. Hi Samuel

    It was amazing to visit Tain l’Hermitage and see the hill again – I last visited there in 1997, too long ago! Jamie has some nice pictures up doesn’t he? When I eventually recover my camera (long story!!) hopefully I will have some too.