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Making white wines

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

Making white wines

Our white wines in the A.O.C Pessac-Léognan  are made from two grape varieties: Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon. These are also blended with Muscadelle in the Entre-Deux-mers  appellation.

The vintage

vendanges blancs

The vintage starts off every year with the white wine grapes, usually the last week in August or first week in September (in a usual sort of year). 

Maturity inspections are done regularly starting in mid-August to chose the ideal date to start picking.

Sauvignon Blanc is the first variety to reach full maturity, followed by Sémillon.  Muscadelle is the last to ripen. 

These white grapes (much more fragile than red ones) are picked in the early morning when the berries are still cool to preserve maximum quality and freshness, and avoid the risk of oxidation.  Many precautions are taken to bring the grapes unbruised to the cellar as quickly as possible.

Winemaking
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Skin contact  may take place for 12 hours before pressing. This is done, for example, with the dry white wines of Châteaux Bonnet . This practice contributes added roundness and aroma precursors to the must (these aromas will be come through later, after fermentation).

The grapes are then gradually pressed (either with or without destemming and crushing) to extract the very best fruit flavours and aromas. This pressing usually is done at night because of the skin contact that takes place beforehand.

The juice is clarified by natural sedimentation before fermenting.

 

batonnage

Our very floral white Entre-Deux-Mers wines ferment in stainless steel vats to avoid losing their very volatile aromas. Different grape varieties are kept in separate vats. The fermentation stage lasts 10-15 days. The wine slated to become Château Bonnet Réserve is feremented in oak barrels...

In fact, we do this with all our great white wines, especially our Pessac-Léognan (Château La Louvière , Château Couhins-Lurton ...). These wines are mostly fermented in oak barrels with regular bâtonnage  (lees stirring). The contact between the fermentation lees and the wine is enhanced by the barrels' small volume. The wines are then aged in barrel for almost a year to bring out their characteristic flavours. This enables great white wines to acquire excellent ageing potential.

 

Our white wines do not undergo malolactic fermentation and, just like or red and rosé wines, are regularly tasted.  hese tastings in December let us make fine-tuned, perfectly proportioned and well-balanced final blends.

tri raisin blanc