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Château Langoa & Leoville Barton

Grands crus classés en 1855 - Saint Julien


Cellars, ‘Cuvier’ & Vinification

Cellars, ‘Cuvier’ & Vinification

At harvest time the grapes arrive in the ‘Cuvier’ where they are processed and fermented in wooden vats of approximately 200 hectolitres. These big wooden vats are pleasing to the eye and typical of the traditional approach to wine making at Langoa and Léoville Barton. Some years ago it became fashionable to remove wooden vats and replace them with stainless steel. The reason for this was the easier control of temperature during fermentation in stainless steel as opposed to wood.
The Bartons thought that the expense was enormous (around 5 million francs), that the wooden vats had made excellent wines in the past and above all that in the near future a method of controlling temperature in wooden vats would be discovered. This turned out to be true and today a system of thermo-regulation enables the juice to be fermented at the exact temperature desired. So there are no regrets for having kept the wooden vats and they do look better!

Although the modern wine making methods permit wine to be drunk at a younger age than in the past, the great vintages may easily be kept for 25 to 30 years and more. It is important to remember that the lighter years drunk at the right time can give more pleasure than the great years drunk before reaching maturity.

But the Bartons do not cling to tradition for tradition’s sake. A most modern crusher-destemmer is in place and the wine press is also one of the latest models. The fermentation normally lasts for about 5 days during which time the juice is pumped over twice a day. The wine is left with the skins for about two weeks, the exact period depending on the quality of the harvest.
It is then drawn off and the skins are pressed to obtain the ‘vin de presse’ a most important component of the final blend. The malo-lactic fermentation then takes place in the vats, after which the wine is drawn off into barrels for ageing in the neighbouring cellars.
And so, the job of the ‘cuvier’ is over for another year.

Histoire de famille - Anthony Barton - Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Fusce consectetur lacus a sapien auctor eu facilisis.
Histoire des vins - La dégustation
Histoire du château - François Bréhant