Making red wine is a long and demanding process. This is particularly true of Bordeaux wines, the secret of whose inimitable style lies to a great extent in their ageing and blending. Before these two stages the grapes are carefully vinified, with a minimum of one year between harvest and bottling the finished wine. This work is done by our team in close collaboration with the Baron de Lestac grower-partners; read on to find out more.
During harvest, the grapes picked in selected parcels are taken straight to the cellar. The first stage of vinification is destemming (in other words, removing the berries from the stalks). The berries are then gently crushed to let their juice flow, using a mechanical process known as foulage (crushing).
The berries (including the flesh, pips and skins) are then put into temperature-controlled tanks with the yeast that will transform the sugar into alcohol. The fermentation process begins within a few hours but can last as long as two or three weeks. During this time our grower-partners do regular pump overs: this means pumping the juice from the bottom of the tank back up to the top, returning it onto the solid cap formed by the grape skins.
Once the cellar master's work is done, our winemaker steps in to enhance our red wines with her skills. Ageing is important, but Bordeaux winemaking is also the result of subtle blending, combining wines from different parcels, different grape varieties and different barrels. Baron de Lestac red is a case in point: it is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc wines which mature in barrels of different ages. The same varieties are used to make Les Hauts de Lestac but in different proportions, and using only wines that come from the prestigious Haut-Médoc appellation area.