Bordeaux - Winemaking - Sweet wine: Grape growing & winemaking

3 important questions on Bordeaux - Winemaking - Sweet wine: Grape growing & winemaking

The production process for Sweet wines in Bordeaux is complex and expensive. What factors in grape growing and winemaking are of impact?

  • Yields must be kept low to ensure very high sugar, by:
    • pruning to low number of buds
    • removal of not really healthy fruit
  • Max 25 hl/ha, but more common 10 hl/ha > expensive!
  • Harvesters must be well trained to see difference noble/grey rot
  • Several rounds/days for picking (10-12 possible Sept-Nov)

The Level of botrytis in final wines depend of

  • whether the conditions to spread the botrytis are correct (year by year variation)
  • Position of estates (location of the vineyards for mist)
  • willingness to wait for best time for harvest, taking a risk
  • willingness to pass in tries, several times, to harvest and select fruit.

Quality in sweet winemaking vary in Bordeaux, how is this impacted?

  • Pressing - fermentation like white wine
  • Fermentation in stainless steel, concrete, or barriques.
  • Top quality wines barrel fermented (Cht. D'Yquem even 100% new oak)
  • Barrel ageing top wines: 18-36 months in high proportion new oak barrels
    • costly
  • Less prestigious wines > unoaked and released a year after harvest

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