Emeritus wines are evolved with softened edges and supple tannins, yet retain their youthful vibrancy. The aromatics are clean and airy and work harmoniously to create a wine that infuses a sense of well-being. Winemaker Nicolas Cantacuzene employs a minimalistic and gentle approach that allows the finished wine to reflect its heritage: The character and personality of the vineyard.
The utmost care is taken to preserve the purity of the grapes from the moment they enter the winery. Hand-sorting at the winery selects only the best grapes, removing any unevenly ripened or damaged clusters. The grapes are then transferred into small French Oak or stainless steel fermentation vats for cold soaking. During the 3-5 day soak the grapes are kept at a cool temperature to prevent fermentation from beginning, this is when the grapes macerate and the juice begins to take on the color from the skins. Once the juice is ready, the team allows the temperature to gently rise and the natural yeast on the grape skins start to ferment the juice into wine. Once fermentation is complete the wine is aged in barrels.
Emeritus wine is aged entirely in French Oak barrels. French Oak has the tightest grain of any commercially available oak. Barrels with “loose” grain allow too much oxygen to permeate through the wine which might make it age prematurely. The French government owns and maintains the forests, and selects trees that are at least 150 years old for auction twice a year.
Each year, Brice and winemaker Nicolas work with a merrandier (forester) to select the trees to purchase at auction. The Emeritus merrandier splits the wood into merrain (barrel staves) in his fabrique (shop). The Merrandier then ages the merrain in his yard for three years, rotating and restacking them every six months to expose all the staves to the elements so that they all receive the full benefit of extended air seasoning—leaching the harsh resins and other impurities from the wood. At the end of the air seasoning process, the merrain are shipped to the tonnelliers (coopers) who produce the barrels in accordance with Emeritus’ specifications.