September – October: Harvest put in concrete form the work after a whole year, the season is as hectic as friendly for the team.
Over hundred pickers come and help us during several weeks.
The team work is of prime necessity.
According to their maturity, parcels are harvested one after each other.
Hand-picked grapes are transported to the stainless steel temperature controlled vats.
First, the harvesting team sorts manually bunch by bunch; A second selection happens on vibrating sorting tables or with an optical sorting machine. Then start fermentations:
- Alcoholic fermentation lasts for around ten days.
- Malolactic fermentation occurs in barrels and vats.
- Plots are vinified separately according to grape variety and age, which allows for great precision in selection when Château Cantenac Brown is finally blended.
After fermentation, the wine is aged for 12 to 15 months in French oak barrels (made of split oak staves form the forests of Central France)
50% to 70% of the barrels are new and 50% to 30% are one-year old.
Air slowly penetrates through the pores in the wood and gently oxidizes the wine. The oak contributes to the elegance of its tannins. At the same time, the restricted volume of the barrel facilitates the precipitation of the lees over the months.
During this ageing process the wine is finely racked, thus separating the clear wine from the lees.
Each racking process is carried out from barrel to barrel and clarity is checked by holding a glass of the wine before a candle. Two cellar workers are responsible for this job throughout the year. When one racking cycle has been completed, it is time to start the next one.
Once aged, the wine is returned to the vats to prepare for bottling. At this point, and to ensure that all bottles are perfectly identical, another assembling operation is carried out: The wine from the new barrels and the wine from the one-year old barrels have aged differently.
The following fining process uses egg whites to clarify and stabilize the wine and any particles precipitate to form a deposit, preventing the sediment being transferred to the bottle.