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Premature Oxidation?

Posted: February 1st, 2012, 10:05 am
by Jud Reis
Guillaume - Thank you so much for participating. I apologize for asking about a difficult topic, but as a lover of aged white Burgundy, I have been distressed to experience first hand the problem of premature oxidation across wines from all regions of Burgundy, including Chablis. I was hoping you might have some perspective on what might be causing the problem and what steps (if any) are being taken in the region to prevent it. I would love to resume buying and aging the wines the way they should be aged. Thank you in advance for your response.

Re: Premature Oxidation?

Posted: February 2nd, 2012, 12:49 pm
by Guillaume Michel
Hi Jud,

Difficult topics I confirm! And quite complicated...

I do not know the exact origin of premox. One thing is sure I guess, it's that it's due to too much disolved oxygen in the wines. Where does it come from? Some people would think it's the cork treatments (peroxyde), some other would think of the press, or some techniques like batonnage.
It's probably a mix of several things, and I think that some techniques increase the risk of premox : batonage, lack of sulphur, bad bottling systems, bad or no neutralization of pipes and machines.

We've never done batonage at the Domaine. And I think it's during the bottling that a lot of oxygen can be incorporated to the wine and among bottling machines, you can have the best or the worst... Thats why we had our bottling system tested with chips that measure oxygen in the pipes and bottles. We now know that our machine is a very good one, we systematically neutralize pipes and equipment with nitrogen before bottling or filtering, and thanks to this we can measure out the right amount of sulphur to add to the wine.

Re: Premature Oxidation?

Posted: February 3rd, 2012, 12:53 pm
by Jud Reis
Guillaume - Thank you very much for the response. Have you found that your precautions have worked well as your wines have aged? Do you get the sense that other producers in Burgundy are starting to take similar precautions, particulalry when it comes to bottling? I greatly appreciate your perspective.

Re: Premature Oxidation?

Posted: February 3rd, 2012, 1:12 pm
by Guillaume Michel
I think that in Burgundy there is an increased awareness regarding techniques that would avoid oxidation issues, which is a great thing.

As far as our wines are concerned, I do not have feedback about oxidation so hopefully we are doing the right thing, even though we can always continue progressing!