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Historic Winery: Corton Grancey Cuverie

The design of the Cuverie was revolutionary for its time, it was built over five levels so all movement during the winemaking process could be carried out by gravity. Pinot Noir grapes are harvested and taken in small baskets to the Cuverie courtyard where they are weighed, sorted and de-stemmed. They are then taken to the first floor by lift in large double walled 'cauldron shaped' metal cars. Cold or hot water can be put in the wall of the cars to regulate the temperature of the grapes as needed. Each new stage of the winemaking process is marked by a move down to the next floor of the winery which ends in the cellars where the wines are matured in oak barrels. Chardonnay grapes are pressed after sorting and then put directly into barrels for the entire winemaking process.

The Cuverie's first floor is a large vaulted room filled with 45 large open wooden tanks. Each harvest they are filled with grapes from the cars which are mounted on a clever system of rails running above the tanks. The first alcoholic fermentation lasts for 14 days, during which time pigeages or punching down, which is breaking up the layer that forms at the top of the wine, and other work is all carried out by hand. After fermentation the free run juice is drawn off before the remaining grape materials are taken from the tanks and gently pressed to obtain the first press juice. The free run and press juices are then blended and placed in 228 liter wooden barrels and put in the cellar for the second malolactic fermentation and maturation. All of Louis Latour's barrels are made in-house at their cooperage.

The historic cellars were dug 20 meters underground into the bedrock of Corton Grand Cru Perrières. Here, in the atmospheric wine cellar, around 800 barrels and 250,000 bottles are stored. The cellar has perfect natural conditions for wine storage; no light, vibrations or variations in heat and moisture occur to disturb the wines during the ageing process.

The Cuverie is still the historic heart of Domaine Louis Latour and was described by Pierre Leon Gauthier, author of Le Clos Mouron as being "one of the most beautiful palaces built in the glory of the Lord of Wine."

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