For each vintage, the harvest is separated into the different grape varieties (merlot and cabernets) and the types of soil producing these grapes (gravel, clay etc.). The fine wine has been separated from the press wine and will give the Cellar Master a wide range of aromas and flavours to work with. We must remember here thatBordeaux is essentially a subtle blend of wines.
The secret to successful blending lies in the selection of the best wines from each vineyard. No harvest is identical. Even from the same vineyard plot with the same grapes the quality may differ from one harvest to another.
Our vineyard qualifies for three certified appellations (AOC or Appellations d’origine contrôlée) – Bordeaux, Bordeaux Supérieur and Graves de Vayres.
The choice of producing regular quality and character
This choice means that once we have divided the harvest into the three different categories of AOC, we pay particular attention to maintaining the specific character of each of the three wines. The wines from each Château should be easily recognisable when tasted blind and at the same time be a perfect example of the vintage itself.
We are opposed to the principles of what are called ‘boutique wines’ – meaning wines produced in small quantities to meet extraordinary quality criteria that are not a true representation of the estate’s production, wines specially produced for competitions or to please the media.
The choice of fruit and elegance.
This choice is made very early in the winemaking process – at the fermentation stage and continues during the blending of the wines. We have always given priority to the fruit in the wine rather than the overpowering flavours and to elegance as opposed to rich, powerful body, good balance and finesse.
With these constraints in mind, blending the wines becomes a very delicate operation. Our team – Gil, Evelyne and Alain Cailley, Christian Nogala, the Cellar Master and our Oenologist, Arnaud Chambolle taste together blind the different samples and we discuss and judge the different blends possible. During this process we are never afraid to start a blend all over again. We carry out many comparative tastings and it is only when we reach a unanimous decision on a certain blend after several trials that we validate the cuvee.
This is far from being a standardisation process and a slight difference in the percentage of an element of the blend can totally make or break the quality and taste of a wine.
The vintage that we are creating will not be complete before end of the maturation period.