ABOUT WINE MAKING
AND AGING

At Monte do Alem, we are convinced that the control of tannins, which are a crucial factor in wine making begins in the vineyard.

If you come to Monte do Alem in September, you will see Vinciane walking through her vineyard picking grape samples at random in order to verify the maturity of the grape pits and the sugar content of the grape flesh. At perfect maturity the harvesting can start and is done entirely by hand.
Clusters of grapes are collected in plastic baskets and immediately transported to the winery built in 2009. At the winery, the grapes are de stemmed and crushed and descend by gravitation into thermo regulated stainless steel silos.
Alcoholic fermentation commences with the skins to extract the colour and the tannins at between 25° and 30°C.

During fermentation, the grape skins rise to the surface of the silo to form the “hat” cover or “marc”. The silos are watched daily and adjusted to maintain completely anaerobic conditions during the fermentation process. Once the alcoholic fermentation is completed, the wine is left to macerate with the skins to extract the colour, the tannins and other phenol composites.
The entire process lasts about three weeks.

Next, the wine is run off from the silo (often into another silo for that purpose) and the remaining skins are then pressed to extract the “pressed wine” which is aged separately. After this step we proceed towards the malolactic fermentation still using the stainless steel silos. Finally after the malolactic fermentation the wine is transferred to French oak casks (every year we replace 30% of our oak casks with new ones). Once in the casks the slow oxidation process begins to progressively remove the harsh characteristics commonly associated with young wines. Blending will start usually between 12 and 18 months later. Parviz, the master in the winery, assists nature’s work through carefully thought out decisions and sensitivity, always in step with nature and assisting her only when she needs be. A healthy harvest, a complete fermentation, leaving behind little residual sugars and optimal acidity are the factors which favour the minimal requirement of sulphur dioxide (SO2).

At Monte do Alem we rarely exceed 60 mg/L of SO2. While European legislation allows up to 160mg/L for red wines and 210 mg/L for Whites.

CHEMICAL ANALYSIS
PRIOR TO BOTTLING

Le Monte do Alem 2008
Total acidity : 5,1 g/L
Residual sugars : 1,6 g/L
Total dry extracts : 20,2 g/L
PH : 3,78
SO2 : 47 mg/L
Alcohol : 13,50°

L’Aragonez 2009
Total acidity : 4,9 g/L
Residual sugars: 1,6 g/L
Total dry extracts : 28,1 g/L
PH : 3,85
SO2 : 50 mg/L
Alcohol : 14°

Le Monte do Alem 2009
Total acidity : 5,6 g/L
Residual sugars : 2,7 g/L
Total dry extracts: 29,27 g/L
PH : 3,71
SO2 : 94 mg/L
Alcohol : 14 °

Le Petit Verdot 2009
Total acidity : 5,2 g/L
Residual sugars : 2,0 g/L
Total dry extracts : 30,2 g/l
PH : 3,83
SO2 : 61mg/L
Alcohol : 14 °