The grapes must be perfectly healthy. The date of harvest is determined by monitoring the evolution of sugar, acidity and aromatic expression. The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are managed separately and individually for each unit/micro-zone of origin. There are no schedules or standardized methods of vinification, we taste from time to time the grapes that come to the cellar, the goal is to enhance every single features of the unit/micro-zone and its annual microclimate. We can vary the choice to destem or not the grapes, the pressing, the time the skins stay on the juice, the way of pressing and even the turbidity of the must after the coarsest particles are decanted by gravity.
Until the 2011, we have chosen to start the fermentation innoculating the must with neutral selected yeasts. The idea behind this has been trying to get and focus on all the charateristics of the wine grapes of each single unit/micro-zone, moving along a standard fermentation for all.
With the vintage 2012 we have started to test spontaneous fermentation in order to identify both useful yeasts that grow on the grapes of any single unit/micro-zone, and the yeasts that actually work in each single must. The aim was to tipify every single unit/micro-zone both as regards the expression of the primary aromas (from the grape) and of the secondary ones (from the fermentation). From the vintage 2014 we are making the primary and secondary fermentation naturally ( in the secondary fermentation non sugar cane is added and no selected yeast are added to get the sparkle).
Fermentation and aging of the wines are made entirely in barrels on total yeast lees: the barrels let us keep every single lot separate.
There's no malolactic fermentation in the sparkling base wines or, in case, it occurs only partially, while it is complete in still wines. In accordance with vintage and lot we decide how to manage oxidation and reduction. The stabilization of wine is natural, without refrigeration, without adding bentonite, without any filtering (sparkling wine is just filter loose before the second refermentation to eliminate the yeasts dead ).
Every year we vinify about 25 different basis: in February they are tasted. We than choose the most mineral and fresh to make the cuvée of VSQ BRUT vintage, the most floral and fruity to make the cuvée of the VSQ Blanc de Blancs vintage and the most complex and rich to make the cuvée of the VSQ brut vintage reserve "SOSPIRI". A small lot of Pinot Noir is destinated to the production of VSQ Brut Rose vintage and VSQ Blanc de Noirs.
The micro-zoning and the separate vinification is our key to diversify our classic method wines only regarding their terroir of origin: in fact from the assembling, nothing (except sugar and yeasts for the second fermentation) will be ever added to style and shape our sparkling wines.
The prise de mousse requires the addition of sugar ( extracted from the grapes in our case ) and yeast at bottling (traditional method), the bottles are then sealed with a crowned cap to keep inside the wine the carbon dioxide produced by the secondary fermentation. We use about 1 million cells/ml, with a death percentage less than 1%.
At the disgorgement (removal of deposit from dead yeasts added during second fermentation), our sparling VSQ are filled ONLY with wine from other bottles belonging to the same lot, without adding sugar nor any liqueur d'expedition. We call them "Pas Operé" (unprocessed), not to be confused with the more common "Pas dosé" (not added with sugar), for which the disciplinary states only a maximum remaining of sugar equal or less than 3g/l. Nothing is instead stated regarding the chance to fill the bottles with any other wine, spirits and no-sugar syrups that we think, when used, have really nothing to share with wine and the typicality of a single winery.
The word "Pas Operè" is not regulated ( in the Franciacorta disciplinary )and so far is merely a fancy name. "Pas Operé" is however our strong belief, a philosophy of life that emphasizes our concept of natural wine, a way to respect the consumer who wants to drink a wine made only with grapes and not a "flavored wine ".
The sulfur dioxide, used to preserve the wine, is added in two stages. On the musts to limit bacterial growth and protect from oxidation and then to the wine used for the topping up of the bottles in the case of VSQ, or at the end of malolactic fermentation in the case of white still wines. Before the wine start to be sold, we control the amount of total sulfur dioxide (currently less than 30mg/l - legal limit is 220mg/l) and any trace of pesticides or chemical substances or anything toxic to human health ( we have always had no traces at all ).