Vinification rouge
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Making red wines

Home > Our "Savoir-faire" > Making red wines

Present in almost all Bordeaux appellations, our winemakers are experienced with various types of wines. We use different techniques depending on the kind of wine we wish to produce: red, white, rose, fresh and fruity or strong and barrel-aged, sweet, etc.  Every category of wine nevertheless and without exception demands excellent raw material:  i.e. impeccable grapes .

Making red wines

Vintage

Each stage of the vintage is extremely important and has an effect on the ones to follow..

Vendanges La Louvière rouge

The date the harvest  begins  usually comes about as a group decision involving everyone on the technical side: the vineyard manager, oenologist, cellarmaster, etc. In order to pinpoint the ideal date, we combine several methods. The traditional way is to go out into the vineyard, taste the grapes  and ascertain what condition they are in. However, we also use a more modern, scientific method involving analyses to check for ripeness. These are done at our laboratory at Château Bonnet about 3 weeks before the hypothetical start of the harvest. The decision of when to pick is made when the grapes have the best possible balance between sugar , acidity , phenolic and aromatic compounds , and are perfectly healthy .

Sorted several times

We make our red wines primarily from Merlot  and Cabernet Sauvignon  grapes..

tri vendanges

Their skins have pigments (called anthocyanins ) that give the wine its colour. Once the grapes are picked, we sort  them according to very strict standards in order to remove any berries that are flawed or insufficiently ripe.

Our teams of pickers select only the best bunches. After an initial sorting in the vineyard, the grapes are sorted a second time  on conveyor belts when they arrive at the vat room, and then a third time  in a densimetric sorting machine .  

This is followed by traditional fermentation

Destemming and crushing .

The grapes are removed from their stems  and then crushed to delicately burst the skins. This releases the pulp and juice, called must .

Macération et la fermentation  

The crushed grapes are put into fermentation  vats .

cuves château La Louvière

Alcoholic fermentation  takes place thanks to the activity of yeast, and lasts an average of one week. This transforms sugar in the must into alcohol.

Maceration , where the must is in contact with the skins, takes place at the same time.  This releases colouring matter  and tannin . Extraction is controlled by pumping over. Our red wines meant to age require longer maceration in order to obtain good structure and ageing potential.

Running off and pressing
vinification

The next step is running off the wine from vat to separate the liquid from the pomace . This produces the free run juice

The pomace is then removed from the bottom of the vat and pressed to obtain the remaining wine. This press wine  is richer in colour and tannin. It is kept separate from the free run juice to begin with.  Then, depending on its quality, it will be blended with the latter.

Not long afterward, the secondary, or malolactic fermentation starts. This naturally reduces acidity and makes the wine smoother. 

The next stage is ageing

Once stabilised, the wine is aged , either in vat  or oak barrels . It is bottled several months later. 

mise en barrique