Friday, 7 May 2010

2009 Reds Are Entering The Chai!

Early this morning I loaded two of our three exclusive Côtes de Castillon 2009 wines which I have been monitoring since harvest. Now that the wines have their certificates and passports allocated there is no hesitation and they are transported immediately to the Chai, to begin the long and patient barrel-ageing which will transform these raw and powerful wines into magnificent elegant wines in a years time!

I started with Chateau Tertre de Bel Air, situated on the outer fringes of the Castillon Appellation where it meets the soils of the Côtes de Francs. This is a very unique terroir and the wines are big and robust with bundles of tannin that must and will be tamed over the forthcoming months.

Next I take the tanker to the opposite side of the Côtes de Castillon to Chateau La Brande where the terroir overlaps into the limestone of AOC Grand Cru St Emilion. Again the wines have a unique flavour and taste with the limestone creating a powerful wine but with more subtle blackberry fruit and a slightly higher acidity.

The 2009 La Brande may seem a little less open than Chateau Tertre Bel Air but believe me you, this needs barrel time and will be absolutely stunning with serious ageing potential down the line.

By 10am the tanker is outside the Chai and the wines are unloaded into our vats whilst I choose the barrels in which they will be aged in. It is the winemakers job to match the barrel types that will suit and enhance the wine best. It is very easy to make a mistake here and although the wine may be tasting great in three months time, the wrong barrel can spell disaster in 12 months with the wine being over or under oaked, masking or dampening the natural fruit expression of the wine that we try so hard to preserve.

I spend quite a while looking through my barrels a bit like combing through your spice rack in your kitchen before deciding on a marinade. However, a food recipe can easily be remade the following day or until the flavour combination is perfected. But wine? It’s one chance only to get it right!


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