Appellation: AOC Haut-Médoc / Label guaranteeing the quality of wine: Haut-Médoc.
One of the 44 Crus Artisans in Medoc. This distinction corresponds to wines that come from small-size exploitation where the farmers participate in all the various works concerning the vineyard and the wine.
Cissac is a village of the Medoc peninsula. It is an hour away from Bordeaux. The property is entirely confined to this village, and is 6 kilometres away from the Gironde, near from Saint-Estephe and Pauillac.
50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet-Sauvigon. On average, the vine is 35 years-old. The older plots of land are 50 years-old, the most recent ones are 10 years-old. The plantation density is homogeneous and approaches 7500 vines per hectare.
The property extends over 7, 8 hectares of vine, divided into 5 plots of land. They are well-grouped together and very accessible from the centre of the exploitation. The two thirds of the plots of land are located in zone of clayey soil, which represents a soil of high quality; the last third on sandier soils, that are lights.
The recently bought-up exploitation (the 1st of November 2006) is traditionally managed; the sanitary treatments, the weeding and the manure are done according to the plant’s needs and from the permanent observation in order to reduce the interventions. Our aim is to obtain a ripe and good-quality wine harvest, reaching the optimum yield which is about 50 hectolitres per hectare. If it needs to be done, we manually thin out the leaves of, in order to further the grapes maturation.
The stocking capacity is about more than 800 hectolitres (the annual harvest represents 400 hectolitres) spread over ten or so vats made of coated steel. This equipment permits some separated fermentations between the types of vine, and according to the qualities of the harvested grapes and to the plot of land.
A small part of the harvest (very old vines) is done manually, between friends; the rest is harvested by a machine that we own with an other property, which covers the same area. This machine permits us to work precisely to our rhythm, and to harvest at the optimum stage. On receipt, we carry out a sorting, and then a classic erraflage (we only keep the fruit of the grapefruit).
We are followed by the Gironde Chamber of Agriculture’s laboratory of oenology located in Pauillac, and we enjoy a near daily following during the harvest period. Moreover, an oenologist regularly gives us advice. Our aim is to produce three types of wine: – A pleasure vintage: « Domaine de Lucrabey »: second wine of the exploitation. Drinking it young; light, fruited, without passing in barrel, it is intended to the commercialization in fountain of wine, or to the sale to wine merchant. This product represents, according to the years, 25 to 35 % of our production. – Plenitude vintage: it represents the heart of the Chateau Bel Air range; it stays in barrel for the period of 8 to 9 months, with an objective of well-balanced wine combining suppleness and strength, delicacy and aroma. This vintage represents 40 to 60 % of our production. – A prestige vintage: this vintage at the top end of the range results from a choice of the best plots of land, the best grapes, the best vats, and the best barrels. The aim is to blend power and elegance, longevity and fullness. Its volume depends on the quality of the vintage; it is very variable and can represent 0 to 30 % of our production.
The person in charge of the exploitation: – Yoann Ripoche lives in the exploitation. He has experience of the supervision of the vineyard, acquired in a big cooperative in Aquitaine. He holds a vocational training certificate taken at age 18 of oenology and viticulture. His father is a muscadet producer.
– Patrice Belly: Agricultural engineer, part-time teacher of economics, oenology and viticulture at the technical-school of Blanquefort. – Bruno Millet: Agricultural engineer and manager of a professional agricultural organization. – Christophe Millet: farm-produce engineer and teacher. – Jacques Decoeur: Agricultural engineer and executive of a veterinary pharmaceutical laboratory. Both of us contribute to the life of the exploitation and to the different works.