The secrets behind our expertise

The secrets behind our expertise

Harvesting

A time for observation and reflection…

Meticulous care is taken in the vineyard throughout the year in order to preserve the full potential of the outstanding terroir. The harvesting period is therefore a determining factor. From early August, the grapes are tasted and their degree of ripeness analysed in the field by our oenologist, vineyard manager, and cellarmaster.

When the perfect balance between sugar, acidity, and phenolic and aromatic compounds has been achieved and the grapes are perfectly healthy, the harvest can finally begin.

Our early-ripening Sauvignon Blancs are picked first (generally in late-August), followed by the Merlots. The Cabernet Sauvignons are picked last.

The secrets behind our expertise

Harvesting

…followed by meticulous sorting

The white grapes used to produce the first wine at Château Couhins-Lurton are very fragile. To preserve their aromas, they are tended to with meticulous care, involving: fine-tuned (plot by plot) vineyard management, handpicking in the cool of the morning (to lock in fresh fruit aromas) and careful manual sorting before and after destemming.

Our teams take the same care with the red grapes: harvesting by hand into small crates, selecting the best bunches, hand sorting on a conveyor belt at the cellar, and then in a densimetric sorting machine (DeltaRflow).

Only then are the grapes finally ready for the next stage: fermentation.

The secrets behind our expertise

Fermentation: white wines

Winemaking which respects the terroir…

Once the grapes have been sorted, they are gently pressed to extract the very best flavours and aromas.

The juice is clarified by natural sedimentation before fermenting, which takes place in oak barrels at around 18-20°C, with regular bâtonnage (lees stirring).

The contact between the lees and the wine is enhanced by the barrels’ small volume (225 litres). These fine white wines are aged for 10 months in cellars at Couhins-Lurton, whereby they gradually develop their characteristic flavours and gain excellent ageing potential. Ninety barrels (30% of which are renewed each year) are monitored under the watchful eye of our cellarmaster.

Valérie Lavigne, consulting oenologist who worked with the late Professor Denis Dubourdieu for many years, also contributes her expertise in the production of fine white wines from this Graves classified growth.

The secrets behind our expertise

Fermentation: Red wines

Once crushed, the red grapes are transported to fermentation vats.

Alcoholic fermentation begins at around 28 to 30°C, thanks to the presence of yeast, and lasts an average of one week, the time it takes to transform sugar in the must into alcohol. Maceration takes place at the same time, whereby the colour and tannin contained in the grape skins are released into the must. Extraction is carefully controlled by pumping over.

A selection of harvested grapes undergo Vinification Intégrale barrel-fermentation (in 12 hl Rolls and barrels) to produce even smoother, more complex, and precise wines thanks to moderate extraction.

The secrets behind our expertise

Fermentation: Red wines

Over the weeks following the harvest, the wine is tasted numerous times in order to fine-tune the blends until the perfect combination of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon has been obtained, resulting in well-balanced wines which express their outstanding terroir.

Since the 2013 vintage, Château Couhins-Lurton has benefited from the invaluable advice of internationally-renowned oenologist Michel Rolland, assisted by his colleague Mikaël Laizet.

The wines are aged for 12 months in 260 barrels in the Couhins-Lurton cellars, with periodic racking and topping up. Half of the barrels are replaced each year.

Harvesting