Our Savoir-faire

Into the wine

A yearly work in accordance with the vegetative cycle of the vine.

  • In JANUARY, the vine is at rest
  • FEBRUARY is the right period to enrich the soil with slow-release fertilizer.
  • In MARCH, we finish pruning the grapevines.

Throughout these months, we prune the grapevines and at the same time we carry out different tasks :

- REPLANTING (if needed): Vine stocks that are too old or unproductive are grubbed up and replanted one by one.

- CRUSHING VINE SHOOTS : once the vine shoots have been pulled, they are crushed. We use a flail mulcher at the back of the tractor. The vine shoots are then crushed and pulverised in small pieces, which decompose and turn into compost.

- WEDGING (CALAGE) OR VINE STOCK TYING : every year, we check each vine stock. It must be held in place thanks to plasticized binds.

- FOLDING : once the wedging done, we carry out the FOLDING (the “aste” (the longest fruit branch on a vine stock is encircled and fastened to the wire with a fastening machine.)

- the « CARRASSONAGE » or « SECAILLAGE »/ VINEYARD MAINTENANCE” : in each row we check the state of the posts. The broken ones are replaced, so that the vine is properly supported.

  • In APRIL, it’s the time of the « DEBOURREMENT » or BUDBREAK: the buds swell to let the first leaves come.
  • In MAY, the new vine shoots grow and are TIED UP on a wire

During this month, we carry out the EMPAMPRAGE or PRICKING and we treat the vine.

- the “épamprage” or vine shoot pricking: the “PAMPRES” or VINE SHOOTS grow in May. The first pricking at the foot of the vine stock is made by the machine. At the top (in the fork) it is handmade, with a billhook.

- the treatments : first against the mildew and powdery mildew. They will be repeated every fourteen days.

  • In JUNE, it’s already the time of the blossoming.
  • In JULY, Green harvesting is necessary, it’s the harvesting or dropping of unripe green clusters of grapes from the vine to limit the growth and enable the remaining grape clusters to fully ripen.

This can be done all along the summer if needed (TRIMMING, VINE SHOOT PRICKING)

Pendant ce début d’Eté, un travail très important est effectué :

- The LIFTING : Every four vine stocks, wood posts are hammered in. A wire (lifter) is stretched halfway up the plants and on each side of the row. The LIFTING consists in lifting these wires according to the growth. The wires are placed on the pins which are on the posts and are held by biodegradable staples.

  • In AUGUST, it’s the time of the VERAISON (the onset of ripening): grape berries start to ripen (they change in colour and appearance.)
  • In SEPTEMBER, it’s the time of the harvest: it starts, theoretically, 100 days after the blossoming.

2016 was a particular year since the veraison started from the 20th of August on and the harvest only started on the 10th of September to last until the 25th of October.

  • In OCTOBER and NOVEMBER, the leaves are falling
  • In DECEMBER, it’s the beginning of the rest period for the vineyard. The “Chef de Culture” (Vineyard Manager) then works on his schedule for the following year.

The average age of our vines: 25 years old.

The Soils : Clay limestone (typical of our Entre-deux-Mers region)

JUST TO LET YOU KNOW !

You can sometimes see a rose bush in front of a row of vines. Rose bushes used to be planted between each row. It allowed us to be alerted to the possible contamination of a very widespread disease in our culture: the mildew.

Today, this method is far less used, for researchers have found that the MILDEW which affects the STRAIN OF THE VINE is not the same as the one affecting the STRAIN OF THE ROSE

Consequently, if you can still see some rose bushes, here and there, it’s more for a question of aesthetics.

At the wine storehouse

For the Cellar Master, the time of the HARVEST is unquestionably the most important. Especially as Simon carries out this task for the first time at Maison Noble! Be sure that concentration, reactivity and a good physical and mental shape are essential to complete successfully the reception of the 75 ha of harvest.

The date of the HARVEST is decided according to several criteria :

  • The morphology of the grapes
  • Their phenolic maturity (the tannins)
  • The sugar concentration

It’s currently the most reliable factor, for it is linked to acidity. The berries are simply going to be tasted (skin, pulp and pips).

  • The weather conditions, of course, play an important part when it comes to choose to start or delay the date of the harvesting process.

Our chai/wine storehouse is atypical! It is made of several rooms, each one defined by a vinified wine:

  • The first one, called « chai de rosé, is the place where the Cellar Master vinifies all the grape varieties for our Bordeaux Rosé. Made of 11 stainless steel vats, of 145hectolitres, it is the first one of a long series.
  • The second, called « chai à Barriques », is made of 2 rooms, containing two French oak barrels, 95% of them with a capacity of 225 hectolitres and a few barrels of 300 and 400 litres.
  • The third one is the « chai de blanc ». Six stainless steel vats of 100 hectolitres allow the vinification of our Entre-deux-Mers grape varieties.
  • The fourth one is the « chai rouge”, for it is used to vinify the grape varieties of the Bordeaux Rouge and Bordeaux Supérieur Rouge.
  • The main « chai » / wine storehouse is located very close in another building; it’s also the “chai” for the reception of the harvest. It is made of 12 concrete vats and 9 stainless steel vats.

Most of our stainless steel vats have a capacity of 100 hectolitres, which allow us to vinify each parcel separately (1 parcel for one vat).

Nearly all our vats are thermo-regulated, so we can control the wine temperature from the vinification, including the aging and developping, to the storing.

In 2006, Maison Noble purchased a new chai/wine storehouse, in Caumont (5km), its building, and 30 hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to produce red wine. This wine storehouse is made of 12 stainless steel vats of 200 hectolitres. It’s another place which is used for the reception of the harvest.

As for the growing, we work on our own (automatic sorter, vinimatic, pneumatic presses, cross-flow filters and thermo vinification…)

JUST TO LET YOU KNOW !

If our wine storehouses are so complex to visit and so to use for our Cellar Master, it’s because we didn’t want to demolish the existing walls, for we are proud of our heritage.

The bottling

All the wines we produced are bottled on the estate, that is to say 500 000 bottles.

Our bottling process line is complete:

We receive from our supplier for the most part " classical Bordeaux bottles "

  • Step 1 : Rinsing
  • Step 2 : Filling
  • Step 3 : Corking
  • Step 4 : Sealing
  • Step 5 : Labeling (labels, back labels, medals)
  • Step 6 : Packaging

We have to bottle wine regularly because of our annual work and work area, all along the year. We rarely bottle more than 100 hectolitres.

We also store our bottles and our non-liquid goods in this same place. There, we prepare our orders, almost every day. They can consist of several pallets or a few boxes for private individuals.

The Cellar Master (with the help of his workers) must manage all this with great care.

JUST TO LET YOU KNOW !

The packaging stage often depends on each staff member’s time, and so the secretary, the saleswoman, or even the manager, can take care of specific and urgent orders.