In all of Michael’s winemaking projects he puts the fruit first. In order to truly express the place from which these wines are made, every action is considered in the light of staying true to the nuance of each vineyard site. Only natural yeast is used for the fermentation, and traditional methods are used for extraction and aging. It is minimalist winemaking at it’s best, using gravity flow to move the wine into the underground caves. During racking and prior to bottling, the wines are pushed with inert gas to avoid pumping and over-manipulation.
All of the Shaps pinot noirs are cold macerated for 3-5 days, and are fermented on the skins for up to four weeks. They are aged in French oak barrels, 25 - 50% of which are new, for eighteen months. The oak influence is carefully balanced to enhance the wines, without overpowering the fruit. The pinot’s are bottled without filtration.
All of the Shaps chardonnays are barrel fermented in the traditional Burgundian style. They are aged in French oak barrels, 25 - 50% of which are new each year, using daily battonage, or stirring of the lees, during fermentation. The natural fermentation allows for a slow transition from juice to wine, retaining the natural fruit esters and varietal nuances. This also allows for a slower conversion of the malic acid and provides more complexity in the chardonnay’s. While the wine is aging, battonage is performed several times a week to enhance and broaden the unique characteristics of each wine. The whites are only pre-filtered to control clarity, but are not sterile filtered.