Wine is the offspring of a mother, Nature, and a father, Man . Nature, in the form of climate, soil and grape variety gives the wine half its character . Man through his work with the vine and in the cellar gives it the other half . The result is miraculous when Nature and Man give of their very best .

Harvesting

The Best Grapes Give the Best Wine

Harvesting, only done by hand is entrusted to local people who are familiar with the vineyards of Château Carbonnieux. The painstaking care taken during grape picking, in particular selecting the best bunches and sometimes even going along the same row twice and then checking the berries on the sorting table before vatting, guarantee a harvest of maximal quality irrespective of the climate of the year.
During the slightly hotter years, harvesting the earliest Sauvignons can start at the end of August. Generally it lasts five to seven weeks until the beginning of October and includes all grape varieties. The vineyard manager divides the harvesters into two teams to work in parallel in each plot where the grapes are at their best for picking. So in accordance with the plot management, the fermenting room operates on two distinct reception lines and since the vineyard is nearby, the grapes can be taken quickly to the fermenting room before the first juices are oxidized.
Gradually as the juices arrive in the vats, the cellar master organizes batches according to the places of harvest or depending on the same aromatic characteristics. Every year he organizes as many batches as necessary. The wine making and ageing process for each batch is personalized which ensures an individual gustatory identity which will be one of the elements used as a basis in the final blending process. Generally there are 20 to 40 different batches for each colour.

Vinification

The Childhood of Wines

White
Little vibrating tippers place the bunches of harvested grapes gently on the sorting table. The white grapes, cleaned manually, arrive in three of the latest model pneumatic Inertys presses (under inert gas) where they are pressed, with or without the stems in oxygen free conditions. The first very clear aromatically subtle juices can be obtained after this type of slow gentle pressing. The absence of oxidation throughout the pressing process helps the naturally very pale juices to keep their fruity quality and to limit the use of sulphur. After 3 to 4 days of settling in vats at low temperature, fermentation continues in barrels, by batches depending on the plots they originally came from.

Red
Once they are placed on the table, the red grapes are sorted twice, before and after destemming, in order to get rid of any unwanted vegetable particles. After gentle crushing, the berries are put in vats with their skins to extract the tannins and the colour. The vatting process of red juices lasts around 28 days at low temperature and involves regular pumping over. The marc cap gently pumped over will give the wine the deep colour that characterizes the reds from Château Carbonnieux. When fermentation is finished the wines are drained by gravity into settling barrels, batch by batch , to start the ageing process.

Ageing

In Keeping With Bordeaux Tradition

White
White wines are put in barrels of different capacities (225 litres, 400litres and oak vats) depending on the oak flavor desired. During the 10 months of ageing the different batches of white wines are stirred regularly. Thanks to this ancestral manual stirring process, the fine lees are suspended in the barrel to lend body and fullness to the wines.
The cellar for white wines contains the equivalent of 600 oak barrels from the centre of France. A quarter are renewed every year.

Red
Once they are barreled, red wines start the malolactic fermentation process which lowers acidity and gives them more roundness. The ageing of red wines lasts about 18 months in Bordeaux barrels. Slowly the tannins from the wood blend with those from the wine to produce more subtle aromas.
Oxygen that passes slowly between the staves of the barrels very gently matures the wine and the “angel’s share” is exhaled. Due to this natural loss the level of the barrels must be topped up regularly.
The red wine cellar contains around 1000 oak barrels from the centre of France. A third are renewed every year.

Blending

The Final Touch

Each barrel is identified by its plot of origin and grape variety. At the end of the ageing process, blending gives life to the different wines. The best batches, offering outstanding gustatory qualities and cellaring potential, are selected for the red and white Carbonnieux wines. The other plots will be used to craft La Croix de Carbonnieux and Château Tour Léognan. After the painstaking blending process, the wines are fined (with egg whites for red wines and a natural mineral clay for white wines) to precipitate the last suspended micro-particles. The wines are then ready for bottling. The bottles rest in our cellars for a few months before delivery.
Crafted by the Perrin Family for more than a half-century, the great wines of Château Carbonnieux, red or white are then ready to join your cellar and grace your table.