What is this ? For us it’s like drinking something at the crossroads between beer, natural wine and cider !
In terms of the ‘how’, we find that the best comparison we can use is breadmaking; It seems a lot of people had a go at breadmaking over the last few years :-)
There are many ways to make bread, but when it comes down to the fermentation or the leavening of the bread, there are 3 main techniques that we know of:
You can use a pack of baking yeast that has been produced in a lab. It will unfailingly ferment your bread quickly and in a consistent way, no matter the weather conditions, the variations in the ingredients used, or who is baking! It’s a very comfortable way to produce something you love quickly over and over again, without the stress of not knowing when it will be ready.
This is pretty much what every brewery around the world does to produce your everyday beers. The wort (base malt juice before it is fermented into beer) is fermented with selected lab yeasts in a matter of days.
In bread making, the other option is to use a sourdough.
A sourdough is a mix of flour and water that is naturally fermented with yeasts and bacteria present in the air and the environment.
These natural yeasts present in the environment are all very different & especially sensitive to temperatures, humidity levels & atmospheric pressures. They all work at their own pace so fermentations take a lot longer and will never be completed in the same amount of time on every occasion. All of these factors combined mean a lot more complexity in the bread but also more digestibility.
In the beer world, this is the equivalent of wild fermented beers, also called spontaneous ferments. We use the yeasts and bacteria present on our farm to ferment our beer wort and many months down the line, you’ve got our ‘Wild’ beers.
Back to bread: you can mix both techniques to have a bit of the personality of a sourdough with the added benefits of a quick turn-around and the assurance of a great turn out.
The equivalent in the beer world is called a mixed fermentation.
In addition to yeasts present on the farm, we also experiment with wine lees. Once a winemaker has racked their wine off the lees – the yeast cells that have fermented the wine and later fallen to the bottom of the barrel – we recuperate these and can ferment our beers with it. Indeed, not all the yeast is dead, and some have enough energy left in them to eat the sugar in our wort and transform it into alcohol.
A grisette is a beer style originally brewed for the miners, thus the term ‘gris’ which means grey. It was brewed and drunk to quench thirst so is light in alcohol and refreshing.
This Grisette was fermented on a starter made with our apples in a Macvin barrel that we got from Julien Mareschal in the Jura (Domaine de la Borde, Pupillin). It matured for 20 months in that same barrel and we added fresh sour cherries towards the end to add a bit of texture and sourness.
At 4,8% Vol it is a super fresh, highly digestible beer with the typical oxidative and caramelized fruit notes from the Macvin barrel.
This Grisette was fermented on an apple starter from the farm in a Vin Jaune barrel that we got from Julien Mareschal in the Jura (Domaine de la Borde, Pupillin).
It stayed in that same barrel for 20 months to give us this light and refreshing 4,4% Vol beer with elegant oxidative Vin Jaune aromas.
Grisette Vin Jaune
We recuperated a few barrels from Vincent Wallard in the Loire, and some with wine lees! This Saison fermented on Cabernet Franc lees and a rosemary starter to add a little kick to it.
It stayed 16 months in that same barrel and we added fresh sour cherries from the farm 12 months in to add some acidity and a touch of fruitiness.
At 7,5% Vol, this Saison has got body & personality, and yet, is super quaffable and delicious.