Expression of the terroir

An astutely chosen expression for the terroir

The expression of a terroir such as that of Château Biston-Brillette depends on choices concerning grape varieties, work on the soil and in the vineyard, and vinification. Full mastery of the winemaking process is a prerequisite for quality. Although it is true that a great wine is rooted in the quality of the vineyard, the Biston-Brillette vat room, with its special-size stainless steel vats, allows vinification in keeping with the personality of the terroir sites, emphasising the typical features and expression of the wines.

 

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From vineyard to cellar

First of all, the choice of expression of the terroir through the vine plant is based on precise soil analyses and on the experience of the winemaker, combined with a keen sense of observation. In rather cold locations, with clayey-limestone soil, the Merlot variety (60% of the estate) is ideal. Root stock 101-14 was chosen for these Merlot vines, given that their rather superficial root system allows them to benefit from the dryness of the clay in summer. As the main grape variety in Médoc gravel, Cabernet Sauvignon expresses the qualities of gravel soil, along with some Merlot. Riparia and 3309 root stocks are the best options in this case.

After parcellaire selection and stringent sorting on a table, the harvest is taken to a vat room, with 21 thermo-regulated stainless steel vats. To better respect the personality of plot wines, the vats are as high as they are wide. These rather unusual vat sizes provide excellent decanting, limit the thickness of the marc to 30 to 40% of the height, allow good vinification and make pumping-over easier. As in the past, crushing is required to reduce the thickness of the marc, to obtain more fruity aromas and smooth, elegant tannins. Vinification and barrel-ageing of the wine are constantly monitored by the Barbarin brothers, assisted by their consultant oenologist, Eric Boissenot.