Vinification is the process that transforms the grapes into wine. The process of vinification differ from region to region, financial state of the winery and the grape types. The harvesting time and the type of oak used for aging are based on the region in which the wine grapes are grown.

Wine making process involves the following stages:

  • The first step in wine making process is Harvesting or Picking. Grapes should be harvested at the right time in order to make good wine. Harvesting can be done either mechanically or by hand.
  • The process of separating the grapes from the stems and cluster parts is called Destemming. Some of the wine makers keep some fragments of the stem to increase the wine tannin.
  • After destemming the grapes are crushed to extract the juice from the skin. This is done before the fermentation process begins. In the olden days bare feet is used to extract the grape juice, now a day machines like crushers are used.
  • Separation of grape juice and the skin is named as pressing. After crushing the grape juice will flow freely, selected wineries use pressers to make sure maximum juice is released.
  • Once the grapes are pressed they are introduced into the process of fermentation. During this process the grape juice are converted into alcoholic beverage. The yeast interacts with the sugar in the grape juice and converts them into ethanol and carbon dioxide.
  • Once the wine is purified and refined, they are preserved with sulfur dioxide or potassium sorbate. During the natural process of fermentation a minimum amount of sulfites are produced, but more is added for the use of commercial preservation.
  • Wines are aged for a particular amount of time to get more welcoming wine. Once after purification, the wines are moved to wooden barrels for aging. Metal vats, concrete vats and glass carboys are also used in some cases to increase the flavor.
  • After aging, the wines are bottled. During the process of bottling a final dose of sulfite is added to the wine to prevent it from uninvited fermentation in the bottle. The bottles are then sealed with cork and screw caps.
Pichon Baron 2005

'One of the top wines of the Médoc...'

The post Wine Legend: Château Pichon Baron 2005 appeared first on Decanter.


Pichon Baron 2005

'One of the top wines of the Médoc...'

The post Wine Legend: Château Pichon Baron 2005 appeared first on Decanter.

Pichon Baron 2005

Wine Legend: Château Pichon Baron 2005, Pauillac 2CC, Bordeaux, France

Bottles produced 240,000

Composition 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc

Yield 35hl/ha

Alcohol 13.6%

Release price $146

Price today $170-$212 (£130-£162)

A legend because…

Although this splendid second growth is now acknowledged as one of the top wines of the Médoc, this was not always the case. Until the 1980s Pichon Baron was in poor shape and its wines were inconsistent. The 19th-century château lay empty, and its owners, the Bouteiller family, lacked the resources to invest in the estate, including the vineyards, which had dwindled to around 30ha. In 1987, the Bouteillers sold to AXA Millésimes, whose estates were run by Jean-Michel Cazes, owner of Château Lynch-Bages. Suddenly there was immense investment: machine-harvesting and the use of herbicides and pesticides were halted, the château was renovated, a circular underground winery was constructed and new purchases brought the vineyards to 72ha. Quality improved swiftly, and the great Bordeaux vintage of 2005 was a huge success.

Looking back

By 2005, Cazes had retired and his place as managing director of AXA Millésimes was taken by Christian Seely. Production was supervised by Pichon’s long-term winemaker Jean-René Matignon. From the outset Seely decided to limit the grand vin to the château’s finest terroir and vines, even though this led to a reduction in volume. This decision came to fruition in this vintage.

The vintage

An early and speedy flowering, problem-free. The summer was very sunny and dry, but temperatures were not excessive, so there was no raisining. At Pichon, two phases of bunch-thinning increased the natural concentration of the fruit to a very high level. Light rain in September brought the grapes to perfect ripeness. Merlot was picked from 19-29 September, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon from 3-11 October. Thick skins ensured that tannins and sugars were high. Acidity was high too, suggesting the wines would be long-lived.

The terroir

The historic vineyards that form the heart of the blend lie on 45ha across the road from Château Latour, and this sector is planted mostly with Cabernet Sauvignon. More vines are planted between St-Julien and the château on an undulating plateau. Merlot is planted on soils with a higher clay content.

The wine

In 2004, the château acquired a vibrating sorting table, though admittedly little sorting was required in such a perfectly healthy year. The grapes were fermented in steel tanks for more than three weeks, using selected yeasts. Malolactic fermentation took place in barrels and tanks, then the wine was aged for 18 months in 80% new oak. The blend was assembled in February after the vintage, and before bottling the wine was egg white-fined.

The reaction

In 2015, Robert Parker wrote: ‘Sweet crème de cassis fruit, lots of cedar wood and forest floor, medium to full body, ripe tannin, and a long finish… This is a beauty and one of the most successful Pauillacs of this vintage.’

In 2017, Stephen Brook was bowled over – at a Decanter masterclass of Pichon Baron wines: ‘Very rich and velvety, highly concentrated and broad-shouldered, showing lavish tannins and a chocolatey tone. The acidity seems moderate, so this is now beginning to open up. Imposing and monumental, textured and long.’

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Each wine is unique. Soil, weather, geology, varietals, and the style of wine making, are all decisive yet variable factors that give each wine a unique character.
Each wine is unique. Soil, weather, geology, varietals, and the style of wine making, are all decisive yet variable factors that give each wine a unique character.
Winemakers all over the world are combining wine making traditions of millennia with innovative approaches and ideas, to address consumer demand for high quality products and a sustainable and healthy lifestyle.
Winemakers all over the world are combining wine making traditions of millennia with innovative approaches and ideas, to address consumer demand for high quality products and a sustainable and healthy lifestyle.