Domaine Clarence Dillon has worked to implement the same principles there that they have applied at Château Haut-Brion and Château La Mission Haut-Brion for decades.
The cultural practices are traditional and combine the soil labour and the natural grass growth, according to each parcel and orientation. Vines are pruned with the “Double Guyot” technique with windows for a better display and aeration during the harvest. In June, we thin out the leaves in order to favour the grapes exposition to the sun. From July, in order to optimize the harvest quality, we make a thin out the vines.
Picking is done by hand. The grapes are deposited on a vibrating table that eliminates all superfluous matter like small stems and other debris. Next, the grapes are transferred to a sorting table where six people remove leaves, and damaged or immature bunches.
Finally, after passing through the destemmer a final selection is made. Only intact grapes reach the harvest’s final destination, the vats.
The vinification method, both modern and traditional. After sorting, wooden vats are used for the alcoholic fermentation of the wine, as well as stainless steel vats for both alcoholic and malolactic fermentation. During maceration the wine is tasted regularly.
Following the harvest comes another crucial stage in the creation of a wine: the assemblage, or blending. This involves individually tasting the wine from every vat, until a blend of chosen vats is made to see how they work together. This is a long and exacting process, but essential to understand the outline of a newborn wine.
Once the blending is finished, the wine is put in barrels, new ones every year. Aging in oak allows the wine to develop and become clearer, and any rough edges on the wine’s tannins are slowly smoothed away over one-and-a-half years.
The wine is then bottled, and this last step – like all which preceded it – is done at the property under our strict control.