BORDEAUX, France (April 12, 2016) – New fermentation barrel Perle de Quintessence is proving a success in the United States after its inaugural vintage in California, Washington and Oregon. More than a dozen wineries utilized the barrel during the 2015 harvest to ferment premium grape lots, and subsequently a trial sourced from Schweiger Vineyards was featured at the Innovation + Quality (IQ) 2016 event held at Charles Krug Winery in Napa Valley.
“Many premium wineries are using barrel fermentation to add richness and complexity while preserving balance and fruit character,” said Franck Renaudin, directeur général of Tonnellerie Quintessence. “Our mission was to support this effort by creating an eloquent barrel to highlight the fruit while also allowing easy access inside the barrel throughout fermentation.”
The barrel’s unique teardrop pearl shape and technical specifications were carefully designed in creative collaboration with a Grand Cru Classé in St. Emilion. Perle de Quintessence features a removable lid that hermetically seals, eliminating the need for any alterations to the barrel before, during or after fermentation. Meanwhile, the barrel’s shape ensures the pomace is located at the most conical and narrow section of the barrel. During pump-overs, the fermenting must passes through a larger volume of pomace, thereby promoting pomace-juice exchanges.
Dan Fishman, winemaker at The Donum Estate, confirmed the tasting notes match what the winery was seeking when introducing Perle de Quintessence to their Pinot noir barrel program for harvest 2015. “The palate is richer and more polished,” said Fishman. “Fermentation went more smoothly, with the wine going dry relatively easily, and we experienced a nice, smooth fermentation curve.”
Many winemakers are also using gas pressure to their advantage when fermenting in Perle de Quintessence to press the pomace against the juice, thus requiring less mechanical intervention.
“I believe fermenting under pressure is adding a new tool for the winemaker to use to achieve and gain in complexity,” confirmed Florent Merlier, winemaker at Van Duzer Vineyards in Oregon. Merlier is using Perle de Quintessence for Pinot noir. “I am seeing in the final product a higher degree of aromatic complexity as less esters and aromatics compounds are leached to the atmosphere. Wine made and fermented in Perle de Quintessence is fresher and shows a higher degree of red fruit aromas. Floral aromas are extremely elegant, texture and silky tannins on the mid palate highlight berry driven characters, and the wine finishes with length and precision.”
At the Innovation + Quality event hosted in Napa, attending winemakers tasted wines from Schweiger Vineyards as part of the Trial Tastings to compare the difference between barrel fermentation in Perle de Quintessence versus stainless steel tanks.
“We confirmed the barrel had a positive influence on the wine, and tasters experienced a clear difference on the palate,” said Andy Schweiger, who provided the experimental wines and also participated in the event. “Next vintage, I am planning additional experimentation to explore the many ways this unique barrel shape can be used in the winemaking process. We’ll expand the variables, such as comparing pressurized versus non-pressurized fermentation and the influence of the barrel during aging.”
Perle de Quintessence was trialed for several years in St. Emilion and is now being used by wineries in France, the United States, Australia, South Africa, Chile and Argentina. After selling out quickly in 2015, Perle de Quintessence barrels are currently available for the 2016 vintage in the northern hemisphere, but on limited allocation.
Tonnellerie Quintessence is a creative French cooperage blending savoir-faire and contemporary expertise. Located just outside of Bordeaux on the road to St. Emilion, Tonnellerie Quintessence crafts premium oak barrels with a commitment to traceability, consistency and customization.