Regardless of the sensory style of the wine (thiols, tropical fruits, amylic, white-fleshed fruits, floral, citrussy, etc.), one of the main objectives when crafting white or rosé wines is attaining a high level of aromatic intensity.

The intensity of aromas is perhaps the predominant parameter in the assessment of a wine, as 70-80% of its perceived quality is linked to smell, therefore the bouquet is a crucial factor to take into account when it comes to market positioning.

Stabulation (macération sur bourbes) involves leaving the must on its lees for a number of days, then the must is fined as usual before alcoholic fermentation.

The stabulation process concentrates on the aromatic potential still to be enhanced after partial clarification of the must and is based on the transfer of compounds and/or aroma precursors from the lees to the must, being careful not to push the process beyond the limit (if this happens, it could lead to the transfer of unwanted notes, such as vegetal or sulphurous ones).


Which parameters do I need to take into account for optimal stabulation?

To use this technique, just about all the crucial winemaking parameters have to be perfectly under control, on the one hand to avoid the risk of uncontrolled fermentation and on the other to facilitate the extraction of the maximum aromatic potential.

The musts and lees intended for stabulation need to be in an optimal state (beware of the possibility of copper being found, which could lead to oxidation during alcoholic fermentation) and the must needs to be kept at a low temperature (under 8°C). The process can last between 5 and 14 days. It’s vital to avoid oxidation and to keep stirring up the lees throughout.

Protecting the must from oxygen is a crucial factor. This can be achieved by using CO₂ or N₂, making the top of the tank and the pumping circuit inert and/or keeping up a level of free SO2 between 20 and 30mg/l (in the event of using the IOC Calypso™ yeast, the ideal quantity of free SO2 is <15mg/l). These conditions need to be maintained throughout the whole stabulation process (from the end of pressing up to the day before fining). The coarsest parts of the lees (inorganic residue or fragments of skins, seeds, etc.) always need to be removed before beginning.

The lees can be stirred up using any available means, as long as you avoid dissolving oxygen in the must. We highly recommend stirring up the lees at least once a day. When you are satisfied that you’ve attained your desired sensory result, it’s time to halt the process, wait for 24 hours, then fine the must.

When it comes to stabulation, the most important parameter is temperature: low-temperature stabulation lasting for many days is not the same thing as high-temperature stabulation lasting only a few days. The stabulation process should always be halted as soon as the desired sensory result has been achieved (find out by tasting the must).


The Perdomini-IOC protocol for the cold-stabulation process

Want to know more? Contact the Perdomini-IOC technical staff or the area agent closest to you
to get a consultation and practical demonstration in your winery!

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