Our job lies in understanding and mastering our terroir. We adapt the plants to it and we respect a strict calendar that evolves with the rhythm of the vine and the seasons.
Before winemaking, everything relies on high quality grapes. This is why, throughout the year, we pay particular attention to the pruning of the vines, the soil, the maintenance of grass cover, the supply of organic fertilizers and the limitation of inputs. Green pruning is essential to guarantee a quality grape. They are carried out in accordance with the specifications of the HEV (High Environmental Value) certification that we have acquired in 2017.
We generally keep between 8 and 10 bunches on each of the 70,000 feet of our plots to reach a yield of 7918 pints. We strive to harvest late so that the maturity of the grapes is enhanced by the freshness that the terroir gives. Our grapes ripen in this way without ever over-ripening.
Depending on the plots, the harvest is mechanical or manual: the grapes are harvested by hand and in crates in order to respect the fruit. A first sorting is carried out on the plot by the pickers and a second sorting is carried out in the cellar.
As part of tests carried out on behalf of Tonnellerie Sylvain, other grape varieties, Pinot noir and Syrah for red wines and Chardonnay for white wines, were planted on the properties alongside the grape varieties authorized by the Saint- Emilion (Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec) and Bordeaux Blanc Sec (Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle, Sémillon) appellations. The final objective of these tests is to define the best combinations of wood/wine origins in order to be able to respond with relevant and informed advice to customer expectations, but also to optimize the process of using the barrels and thus support the winemakers in their oenological practices.
Thanks to our know-how and our knowledge of plant materials, we are able to produce high quality wines with a real taste signature.
The cellar is equipped with 10 stainless steel vats of 50 and 100 hectolitres, the vat room is perfectly suited for vinification by plot. The grapes are even selected on the plots.
The great originality of the property' wines is that they are vinified entirely in new barrels (for Château La Rose Perrière and Le Clos Les Grandes Versannes). This ancestral process, revisited by Tonnellerie Sylvain through numerous tests, has shown that the optimal vinification volume is that of a 500-litre (879 pints) barrel.
The technique has been refined around the control of the extraction (immersed cap and break cap staves) as well as the management of the fermentation temperature. 500 kg (1102 pounds) of grapes are barrelded by gravity. Cold pre-fermentation maceration (8°C / 46.4°F), carried out with dry ice to avoid oxidation, lasts a few days. From this stage, we gain in aroma and color. The musts are tasted several times a day in order to optimize the extraction of tannins. It is carried out by punching down, rotations or complete immersion. The contribution of wood is immediate and integrated into the fruit from the start. The malolactic fermentation takes place partly in vats, partly in barrels.
Our red wines are aged between 12 and 14 months in new and used barrels of French oak from Tonnellerie Sylvain. The harmonious synergy of the wood-wine duo helps to patiently sublimate and refine the wines while respecting the fruit, giving roundness and reinforcing the structure of the wine. Our white wines are aged for 10 months in new barrels and casks.
Our cellar is also the scene of trials for Famille Sylvain carried out each year to understand, improve and better control the wine making process and ageing of wines in barrels. Thus, it acts as a "Research and Development" laboratory intended to gather knowledge through experimentation to always better understand the association of the characteristics of wood with the typicality of the grape varieties or to allow our coopers to develop their know-how and check if some production techniques have an impact on the wine (types of toasting, wood blends, etc.).
Gérard Sylvain, father of Jean-Luc, created the first barrel repair workshop in Libourne in 1957. In 1980, Jean-Luc Sylvain joined the company as a cooper. Thereafter, the cooperage gradually developed its offer and its range of barrels for a French and international clientele.
Today, Jean-Luc Sylvain perpetuates this family tradition with his children Claire and Rémi in the heart of the Bordeaux vineyards. They strive to preserve the artisanal values of the profession, the know-how and the precision of the work, while instilling modernity, technical and technological innovations.
Thus, our wines are aged in custom-made Tonnellerie Sylvain and Tonnellerie Meyrieux barrels and Marc Grenier casks. Thanks to this know-how, our wines are the reflection of a total control of the production, from the manufacture of the barrels to the ageing in the bottle. The Sylvain imprint marks each step in the manufacturing process.
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