Some of the most exciting wines in Bordeaux are made by the smaller chateaux, not so well-known internationally. It can be worth a small effort to seek them out and taste their wines.
One such winery is Château Bernateau in Saint Emilion. It is a small family-owned winery that is both organic and high-tech. They want to be careful about the environmental impacts of wine-growing and winemaking but that does not mean that they will not use the latest technology to improve the quality of their wines.
For instance, they have since a few years been using the advanced sorting technique called “optical sorting”, meaning that each single grape is inspected by a machine for size, colour and shape. Every single grape.
Another example is the curious fermentation vats that are built with both oak and stainless steel and that has a “window” so that the fermentation inside can be closely followed.
But it is not technology for its own sake. The whole purpose is to make better wines.
Read more on this in Britt’s article on Forbes: Château Bernateau In Saint Emilion: Great Wines With Organic Growing And High-End Equipment.
Here is the introduction:
Bordeaux is not only about big, famous chateaux in Médoc. If you cross the rivers to the right bank you will find a myriad of smaller chateaux, often with less than 10 hectares of vineyards. Often family owned, like the remarkable Château Bernateau in Saint Emilion.
Château Bernateau is just outside of the village of Saint-Etienne-de-Lisse. This is the eastern part of Saint Emilion, about 10-15 minutes’ drive from the medieval and very pretty town of Saint Emilion. The chateau owners are Pierrick and Karen Lavau. Pierrick is the winemaker and from the estate’s 7.5 hectares he aims at both the highest possible quality and personal character. The famous right bank limestone helps. “It gives a certain saltiness, a freshness to the wines”, says Pierrick. His vineyard is mostly planted with Merlot, a grape that thrives on clay and limestone. Cabernet Sauvignon, on the other hand, prefers the gravelly soil of Médoc.
You can hear some of the explanations from Pierrick on the video below as well as the whole chain of grape reception, including the optical sorting.
Read all of Britt’s article on BKWine on Forbes.
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Pierrick Lavau talks about some of the differences it has made to start working with organic growing and organic winemaking:
The grape reception and sorting, including optical sorting, at Chateau Bernateau: