Up until 2001, the vineyards of Domaine Taupenot-Merme were farmed with the “lutte raisonnée” approach, meaning there was still some usage of chemicals, although very limited. In 2001, the move to full organic viticulture was completed. However, Domaine Taupenot-Merme is not organically certified.
Romain defines himself as a “terroirist“, firmly believing that avoiding heavy handed techniques contributes to express the character and the origin of the wines a lot better. He prefers to talk about “infusion” rather than “extraction”. This approach contributes to highlight each wine’s character with even more depth.
After harvest, the grapes are sorted and selected, with stems removed completely. One step of Romain’s approach is to give the grapes a cool soak at 10ºC. The fermentation takes place for about seven to nine days, naturally, with indigenous yeasts before the grapes go into the pneumatic press. The grapes are then kept in the vat at 29ºC to work on the tannins.
For the following 12 to 14 months, the wines are in barrels, without racking, to avoid disruption. The domaine refers to different coopers for the French oak barrels. There are also some standards for any new oak used, with Premier and Grand Cru wines set at 30, 40 and 50% respectively. After that, the wines are assembled in stainless steel tanks for three months before bottling, without fining nor filtration.
After malolactic fermentation is completed, it’s a consolidated habit of Romain to invite the five different coopers he works with for a blind tasting. More than 20 samples are tasted from new barrels, for the coopers to judge their quality and, more importantly, their influence on the wine.