Gentian takes root in the vibrant and authentic region of the Auvergne.
The yellow gentian (Gentiana Lutea, Great yellow gentian or Queen of the Mountains) which we use is solely harvested in the Regional Nature Park of the Auvergne Volcanoes, allowing Avèze to carry the endorsement of Valeurs Parc Naturel Régional, or Regional Nature Park Values.
It grows in the wild at an altitude of between 900 and 1700 metres and flowers in June and July after about 10 years.
Gentian can live to up to between 50 and 60 years and we use roots which are 45 years old on average.
The underground parts we use are the rhizomes, rootstock which can reach 1 to 1.5 metres long for a standard weight of between 7 and 10 kilos.
Gentian is harvested each year from the end of May to mid-October by teams of gentianaires or gençanaïres (local dialect), the specific name for gentian-pickers.
To produce our liqueur, we use the roots extracted at the end of the summer, when the plant starts to “hibernate”.
These autumn rhizomes no longer produce aerial parts (stems, leaves and flowers) or roots. Consequently, they are particularly abundant and have the active prinicipals and substances sought after to produce quality products.
The first production step is the 5-day root processing of the fresh gentian..
The gentianaire team is composed of 7 to 8 people and on a daily basis they can each dig up on average between 150 to 200 kilos which amounts to 1500 to 1700 kilos of roots.
As soon as these roots arrive at the Avèze site, they are manually sorted and carefully cut up to remove the fine roots and “eyes” (from where the aerial roots grow). The third day is dedicated to washing the roots which are then stacked at an angle in the cellar for better draining until the following day.
The roots are then thinly sliced allowing them to release the maximum of their active principals during maceration.
Once the macerating vessel is full of roots, a hydroalcoholic blend is added (the degree of volumetric alcohol in percentage is a production secret).
The maceration of fresh gentian roots lasts for 9 months with weekly rotations of the macerating vessels.
Nine months later, the racking of this precious liqueur is undertaken to obtain gentian alcoholate
Gentian is the essential base ingredient of this product. We are left with a rigorously selected plant alcoholoate: 2 bitter plants and 2 mild plants (to give the zesty touch to the product), the latter being macerated and fully produced in Riom-ès-Montagnes. The two alcoholates are blended to obtain the “base” of our product. This base will sit for a minimum of 6 months (allowing the product to decant naturally) before the 1st filtering. The base is filtered a second time which gives a clear liquid.
First of all, we make the base and alcohol dosage which is to be added to the sugar syrup.
We then filter it one last time before packaging.
All throughout the various manufacturing stages, we carry out a whole set of analyses: degree of alcohol, volumetric mass density, turbidity (clarity), optical density (colour) and of course organoleptic checks of the product (tasting).
At this stage, packaging of our Avèze aperitif is done.