Video « Les yeux dans les Blancs »

Sun and rain…

“The white wine grapes are generally picked in the first half of September, about a fortnight before the red wine grapes. They are therefore less subject to autumn showers. This explains why unexceptional red wine vintages are sometimes excellent for white wines. In addition, while hot weather is a hallmark of great red wine vintages, white wines are not as dependent on such weather since they need to retain freshness.”

Experience means everything…

“Close observation has showed that all grapes do not ripen at the same time. We therefore harvest the grapes at peak ripeness in several waves of picking. Each time we go out into the vineyard, only 10-30% of the crop in a given plot is harvested... This extremely meticulous way of picking requires a team of 35 people who work for two to three weeks – as compared to only a few days at most other estates.”

Ripeness and purity

“Perfect ripeness is even more important for white wines as they do not have tannin, which can mask a slight imbalance in red wines. However, nature helps us out here, and we are able to see differences in ripening after four days between bunches of white wine grapes. It is also easy to detect damaged grapes, which are manually removed from bunches with a secateur.”

Like Swiss watchmakers…

“The same well-trained team of pickers comes back year after year. They are completely familiar with our method of inspecting the grapes, making sure to pick only those that are perfectly ripe and healthy with the precision of a Swiss watchmaker. The team is supervised by the château management.”

Small volumes

“The bunches are put into small crates (30kg maximum) to avoid crushing the grapes, which would prematurely release juice and cause oxidation. In this way, the fruit remains intact. The grapes are pressed as soon as they arrive at the cellar.”Oliver Bernard