Our vineyard stretches over 6.8 hectares of the finest clay-limestone land within the Côtes de Castillon.
Just like the plateau of St Emilion, the soil here is covered with a fine layer of twenty or so centimetres of red clay that is rich in iron. Below that is limestone, which is several metres thick. This particularity enables the soil to drain away remarkable quantities of rainwater – and yet ensures the vines have enough to drink during hot, dry periods
The south south west exposition permits maximum sunshine on the plants throughout the year.
When we bought the site, our preference was to choose old vines. Around a third of the vineyard was planted between 1953 and 1961. These vines produce grapes of the highest possible quality with an exceptional aroma.
Since 2006, we have undertaken substantial work to get the whole of the vineyard to a very high standard including working the soil, replacing missing vines and heavily pruning the most vigorous vines.
The green work is undertaken by hand - reducing buds and then later two processes that remove excessive leaves – so as to protect the quality of the harvest.
We have chosen to limit the yield to 35-40hl per hectare.
The harvest gets underway when each of the plots of vines reaches its optimum maturity. It is undertaken by hand, in cases, by professional grape harvesters, who are instructed to weed out any grapes that are not perfect. A second selection process is done at the cellar on the sorting table so as to keep only the grapes that are suitable for the highest quality wine.
Pilar and I take personal control of the vinification, which takes place in small thermo-regulated vats, each permitting a selection of grapes from each plot.
Modern techniques such as micro-oxygenation and cold pre-fermentation maceration enable us to stock the wine in the tanks for a long period as best suits the grape varietal and the year. Malo-lactic fermentation takes place in new French oak barrels for 30% of the harvest and the remainder is done in vats.
All of the wine is passed through barrels for a minimum of 12 months. The wines are assembled in vats, and clarified with fresh egg white prior to being bottled at the château.