The grapes which arrive in the winery are perfectly botrytised, saturated with sugar and candied («confits») to perfection. Now, the almost magical act of transforming the grapes into wine begins.
Once selected on the sorting table and pressed, the must obtained from the grapes undergoes a simultaneous reaction provoked by the Noble Rot: the acidity level diminishes and the sugar concentration level increases. The annual yield doesn’t go over 10 to 15 hl/ha due to a rigorous selection.
Thus, only musts with an average potential of 20 to 22 degrees in alcohol are selected for the First Great Growth («1er Cru Classé»). The slightly less concentrated juices will be used for the production of the second or third wines. After a night of decantation, the alcoholic fermentation begins.
After two to three weeks the desired balance between the sugar and the alcohol level is obtained and the fermentation process is stopped. This is the non-fermented residual sugar which makes the wine so rich, sweet and tasty.
CARE AND AGEING
To allow the wine to slowly mature during this preservation period, Chateau La Tour Blanche attentively follows its evolution.
Like all wines, the barrels will be regularly topped up. In order to eliminate the lees the wine is racked every three months.
On average, the ageing lasts from 16 to 18 months. It is only after this process that the blending begins – an art determined by strict taste assessments of the different batches. The results must equal customer required level.
The precious nectar is finally obtained. Now starts the ageing process as Sauternes wines can be laid down for a long time.
THE ROLE OF TECHNOLOGY AND TRADITION IN THE QUEST FOR QUALITY
Chateau La Tour Blanche has continually provided itself with the means to keep its reputation. It is fitted out with the most modern and efficient equipments but it has also known how to maintain the more traditional aspects of wine-making.
The recently renovated winery, which has also been modernised and air-conditioned, stocks the traditional 225-litres Bordeaux traditional barrels. At Chateau La Tour Blanche, all the barrels are renewed every vintage and are made from French oak grown in Nievre, Allier and Vosges.
The vatroom comprises thermo-regulated stainless steel tanks of varying capacities, enabling a very precise selection of the wines, including small volumes.
Man’s craftsmanship and experience in the world of wine is still omnipresent at La Tour Blanche. However, it is also through constant experimentations and significant technological investments made over the years that contribute in achieving the Chateau’s main objective: Quality.