Jean-Paul Metté distilled his first Eau de Vie in the sixties. As a teenager, he would frequently visit his neighbour, who had a still. In keeping with tradition, he rapidly added his own new creations of the range of standard products such as Old Mirabelle Plum or Wild Raspberry eau-de-vie. Philippe Traber, his godson, started to work with him in 1985. J-P Metté taught him the art of distilling, the know-how and the secrets which make every distillery unique. In 1997, J-P Metté fell ill and decided to sell his distillery. Philippe and his wife Nathalie bought the distillery in 1998 and they still distil as J-P Metté used to do. Their distillery is well known all over the world thanks to the large range of products and especially to the high quality of their eaux-de-vie.
The Metté distillery is located in Ribeauville in the Alsace area in the heart of the vineyards. They also own wine vineyards to produce their Marc de Gewurztraminer. The climate in Alsace is a continental climate with some cold winters and hot summers. The sun exposition is mostly South and South East.
Today they are proud to present 87 Eau de vie and 22 liqueurs.
• They only buy fruits and ingredients of excellent quality, dealing with suppliers from all over the world to make sure they get the best products.
• They guarantee their products free of artificial flavour and sugar.
• Their fruit is delivered in a small quantities so it doesn’t go bad.
• Both maceration and fermentation are natural processes. Neither sugar nor yeast are added and the vat is not heated or cooled.
• The fruit is picked when ripe and is placed in a fermentation vat by hand, as the use of a pump could spoil the fruit.
• Yeast converts the sugars present in the fruit to alcohol. The fermentation takes between six and eight weeks, depending on the nature of the fruit.
• Maceration takes between five days to eight weeks, depending on the fruit. The fruits are macerated in brandy containing 75% alcohol, made from distilled wine. Only one distillation takes place.
• Fermented fruits: after fermentation the fruit is put into an alembic and the initial distillation takes place to produce the first alcohol. This spirit is distilled a second time when the heads (very strong alcohol with a distinct smell of ether) and tails (very weak and tasteless alcohol) are separated to leave only the heart, which contains 70% alcohol. This is reduced to 45% by adding spring water.
• Macerated fruits: after the maceration, only one distillation takes place during which the heads and tails are separated to leave only the heart, which contains 70% alcohol. The alcohol is reduced to 45% by adding spring water.
• The alembics they used are copper Charentais style. They use three different sizes of stills: 100 litres, 140 litres and 150 litres, as it helps to enhance the aromas.
• They use copper for their stills, as it is a good conductor of heat and removes impurities which would give a rancid and bitter taste to the eau-de-vie.
• Small stills are also easier to clean, which is important. Every still is cleaned after they use it.
• After the distillation the eau-de-vie is put into stainless steel vats. It is matured in the vats for six to eight years before being bottled.
• The vats are kept outside in an open courtyard exposed to the elements, which is important for the eau-de-vie. The warm temperature helps round off the more aggressive alcohols, while in the winter the cold causes impurities to settle at the bottom of the vat, giving a clear eau-de-vie after a few years.
• The hors d’age eaux-de-vie are kept in glass demijohns and stored in a loft. They are matured for at least 30 years resulting in a very fruity and mellow eau de vie.