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Chateau Bauduc

Château Bauduc is a lovely 200 acre estate, with woods and parkland surrounding the Château and its 70 acres of vines. Both red and white varieties are grown on the clay, gravel and limestone soils – mostly Merlot with some Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc grapes for our ‘Appellation Contrôlée’ reds and rosé, and Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon for the whites.

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Each vine is tended by hand around eight times a year, from the winter pruning onwards, and passed by tractor some 22 times a season: trimming, spraying, mowing, turning the soil, and so on. We employ a system of ‘lutte raisonnée’, or reasoned viticulture, whereby we only spray when we have to, or rather, panic when we have to. Much of the vineyard has been replanted in the last ten years. We’ve replaced vines that were planted in wide rows on high yielding rootstocks (3000 vines per hectare) with narrow rows of low yielding rootstocks (5500-6600 vines p.h.). It sounds strange but less bunches per vine – to make the same amount of wine – should mean riper, tastier grapes and better wine, in theory.

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Le chai (pronounced like ‘chez’) is a Bordelais word for where the wine is made and aged – the winery. We pick mostly by machine, and a bit by hand, during the September and October harvest. The grapes are sorted and de-stemmed. A pneumatic press is used for pressing the white grapes before fermentation, and after fermentation for the reds (white wine is made by fermenting just the juice from the white grapes, red by fermenting the dark grapes – skins, pips and all).

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There are 25 stainless steel tanks in which we make the wine, ranging in size from 5,000 litres up to 20,000 litres – each one being chosen to fit the volume of grapes from each parcel of vines. Many tanks, or cuves, were fitted out in 2006 with an automated temperature control system, which allows us to chill down or warm up the fermenting juice or wine. The barrel cellar for the reds has been rebuilt, partly because it was about to fall down, and only French oak is used for ageing the reds for 12 months or so. We source most barrels from top estates in Pomerol, after they have been used once, as this suits our wine better and costs less than half the price of a new barrel. All the wines are bottled here and the bottles are kept lying down in our cool storage area until they are ready to be labeled and shipped.