At Château Talbot, wine is as much a matter of the past as the future; respect for tradition and technological change live in perfect harmony. The alliance of techniques, terroirs, and men working passionately creates harmonious, complex wines of character.
At Chateau Talbot we chose to continue vinification operations in wooden vats, as it was done in the past. Our best grapes ferment and macerate under the excellent conditions provided by the truncated, cone-shaped wooden walls and their isothermal properties. Old-stock grapes are put in these wooden vats whose maintenance requires true know-how. Being easier to clean, the stainless steel vats enable better fermentation management and supply wines whose profiles are complementary to those vinified in wooden vats.
Thus, we adapt our wine making and maturing modes to each style of grape which Mother Nature provides each year. Using wooden vats does not reflect a choice of prudent conservatism but rather a technical decision. Besides, what could be more evocative, more impressive when visiting an estate than the sight of such a vat house !
Last but not least a wooden vat house offers the perfectionist wine-maker various avenues of research, because each vat is unique (type of wood, vat capacity, varying construction for each maker, as well as methodology in their use).
All in all, a wooden vat evokes emotion; it will last for several harvests, whereas a stainless steel vat remains ageless!
In contrast with the austerity of concrete, here one encounters the curves and warmth of wood. No fewer than 1,800 barrels repose in this monastic atmosphere. Lined up in the cool half-light, the cellar is maintained at 16°, where they mature the wine in every sense of the word. 14 months of aging in 50 to 60 percent new barrels originating from eight different coopers. The choice of cooper, the length of aging, and the pace of racking vary, based on the style and development of the various lots. Regular tasting of the wines determines these choices; aging is adapted to each wooden tank’s character until final blending. Depending on the vintage, Talbot’s top wine represents 50 to 60% of the estate’s production. Rigorous selection enables the production of a second wine, le Connétable Talbot, with an outstanding quality to price ratio.
After harvest, blending is one of the most delicate operations. Lots of varying origin must be harmonized. Varieties, parcels, terroirs, age of vines, new or old barrels…many parameters render this operation complex. Nancy Bignon-Cordier and Lorraine Cordier, with the help of oenologist Jacques Boissenot and Stéphane Derenoncourt, seek to attain for each vintage the highest level of complexity for Château Talbot wines.