Making red wine: when the grapes have reached the right level of ripeness, the harvested grapes are taken to the winery where they are selected and destemmed. The must and marc are stored in steel tanks for the first fermentation stage which helps extract the colour, fragrances, aromas, tannins and structure from the grape skins. For still wines (Cabernet-Sauvignon and Merlot), alcoholic fermentation on the skins can last up to 20 days, when we carry out plunging and pumping. Once this first stage is finished, the must and grapes are separated and during the winter months, the cold encourages tartaric stabilisation which prepares the wine for bottling the following spring.
However, for the Riserva, the wine is put in French oak barriques in spring for at least 12 months, as required by the “Colli di Scandiano e Canossa” Protected Designation of Origin specifications, before being put into bottles. Malolactic fermentation occurs inside the barriques during the first 2-3 months, which turns the malic acid into lactic acid; over the following months, the wine is refined through oxygen exchange allowed by the porous nature of the wood, which softens the tannins, making them less overwhelming and more elegant and enriching the wine with more complex aromas, such as the typical vanilla scent of oak.
For lambrusco, on the other hand, the first stage of fermentation on the skins only lasts a few days and fermentation then continues just with the must and not the grapes. Finally, for the semi-sparkling wine process, it continues with a second fermentation to form the bubbles in pressure-sealed steel tanks (autoclaves), which only happens by adding the sweet must put to one side during the harvest, without using any other added sugars.
Making white wine: The grapes are picked by hand early in the morning when the temperature is still cool, which helps preserve their organoleptic characteristics until they arrive at the winery to be gently pressed. Only the “free-run must” is kept here (this is the must obtained after the first light pressing of the grapes, when the skins and pulp have still not yet been heavily pressed) for fermentation in steel tanks at a controlled temperature of 16°C to preserve all the primary aromas.
For Martinotti Method sparkling wines, the semi-sparkling wine process involves a second fermentation to form the bubbles in pressure-sealed steel tanks (autoclaves), which happens by adding the sweet must put to one side during the harvest, without using any other added sugars. The sparkling wine stays in the autoclave for about six months before bottling to get a good structure and complex primary and secondary aromas.
For Metodo Classico sparkling wines: The grapes are harvested slightly earlier to preserve the acidity in the fruit which is useful for getting a good level of freshness in the base wine to make it sparkling. After the whole grapes have been gently pressed, a first alcoholic fermentation takes place in steel tanks at a constant temperature of 16°C. The following spring, the wine is bottled for the second fermentation to form the bubbles, which occurs directly in the bottles. During the first few months, the lees in the bottle increase the pressure by using the sugars in the wine, therefore making it sparkling. At the end of this process, the real refining of the sparkling wine starts on the lees, which lasts about 5 years. At the end of the refining period, the residual lees are removed through the final disgorging (dégorgement). On the one hand, this longer time spent on the lees encourages a fine “bead” and, on the other hand, gives the wine greater complexity and structure, enriching it with delicate notes of honey, “bread crust” and pastries.