As the 2014 white wines are bottled at our Dourthe estates of Château Rahoul in Graves and Château La Garde in Pessac-Léognan , let’s take a look back at the hard work that went into creating these great Bordeaux white wines.
Sauvignon blanc, Sauvignon Gris and Semillon are hand picked in the morning to take full advantage of the cooler temperatures and preserve aromatics.
Arrival at the winery
The grapes are transported to the winery in trays to avoid any crushing of the berries, which also helps retain the aromas. They are then pressed under inert gas to protect the grapes from oxidation. In this way, all the freshness and aromas are retained to perfection.
After gentle debourbage (settling) at low temperature in stainless steel tank, the musts are transferred to barrel at the start of fermentation. Each parcel is carefully labelled and treated as a separate entity until final blending.
The musts ferment in barriques at low temperature in an air-conditioned winery in a constant bid to retain freshness and aromas.
Once fermentation is complete, the wines are left in the same barrels to mature on the lees for 7-8 months, with regular batonnage (stirring).
A very old traditional technique originally from Burgundy, batonnage consists of stirring the wine to circulate the lees settled at the bottom of the barrel.
By rotating the barrels, as is the process at Chateau La Garde, or the more traditional approach using a stick at Rahoul, stirring helps protect the wine from oxydo-reduction, develop the complexity of aromas and impart volume and creamy texture to the wine.
Batonnage is performed less frequently over time, varying from several times a week to once every 10-15 days towards the end of elevage.
The parcels are then blended before being bottled on the estate.
The recently bottled 2014 vintage can be enjoyed immediately with shellfish and noble fish. After 3-5 years further ageing, these wines would make a great match with white meats (chicken) or cheeses such as mature comté or goats’ cheese.
Château Rahoul, Graves Blanc 2014: 78% Semillon, 15% Sauvignon blanc and 7% Sauvignon gris. The intensely fresh, citrus-laden Sauvignon blanc is enriched on the palate by white fruit notes of peach, together with rounded Semillon character.
Château La Garde, Pessac-Léognan Blanc 2014: 74% Sauvignon Blanc: 15% Sauvignon Gris and 11% Semillon. The pure expression of Sauvignon blanc in this wine reveals citrus fruit and spicy aromas. Lively and poised on the palate, it offers wonderful mineral character.