From the vine to the wine
Leur qualité vient de l’homme,
Leur personnalité vient des éléments. » Peter Sichel1
(Their character comes from the terroir,
Their quality from man
Their personality from the elements.)
Vineyard : a mosaic of Pomerol
The 4 hectares vineyard of Château La Croix de Gay is mostly composed of Merlot. Some very old cabernets francs plot account for around 5% of the vineyards total surface.
Cultivation of vine : respect for the plots as such « climats »
Chantal Lebreton implements every precaution to enable each of the 10 plot composing the vineyards of Château La Croix de Gay to express its own characteristics (adequacy terroir/grape varieties/rootstock, strict limitation of yields, specific attention given to each parcel).
Every year, Chantal Lebreton’s work seeks to obtain a grape of a quality representing to its best the plot of origin and respecting the traditions of the precedent generations as well as establishing a reference for those that will follow.
This ambitious aim goes through:
- giving attention to vegetal material and respecting environmentally friendly farming procedures (rational viticulture), guided by the constant observation of the vine,
- preparatory work during the summer if necessary (removal of buds, leaves and green harvesting).
Harvest : tradition and innovation
The greatest respect is given to the harvest, wanted at the grape’s optimum maturity. Of course, the viticulturist knows that nothing can replace a tasting straight from the plant as taught by her father.
The grape harvest at the Château La Croix de Gay is done manually in small aerated crates to best respect the grapes and follow as closely as possible the production of each plot. In red wine, Chantal Lebreton has been one of the innovators for this method of harvesting which has been generalized since then.
At the arrival at the cellar, grapes are put on a vibrator to spread the grapes and make the waste fall before selection.
In the new cellar the harvested grapes are treated in a full gravity based system.
Vinification : a new "tool" at the heigh of the family know-how
At Château La Croix de Gay, the winemaker retains the upper hand throughout the vinification procedures. The wine is a reflection of the relationship between the terroirs and its creator.
The high quality of the facilities is a reflection of the perfectionism of Mr. Noël Raynaud and his willingness to give the best to his wine. However he never accepted, although he had modernized it, to change its concrete vat-house from the beginning of the century. This tool has long been a reminder that it is only the work and the “peasant” spirit of previous generations that allow us to have the great pleasure to serve this great terroir of Pomerol.
However the dilapidation, not of the production tool, but of the buildings from early 19th century housing the fermenting room has led us to consider its complete restructuring.
The new cellar is operational since the vintage 2014. It is built in line with the former without forgetting about the respect given to harvesting and the wine (more relevant location closer to the “chai d’élevage”, work by gravity).
The winemaking and maceration therefore always take place in cement vats, with high thermal inertia and thermoregulation. The original tulip flower corolla-shaped vats optimize the grape pulp/juice contact. Their small volume is perfectly adapted to the plots.
The “écoulage” (operations to separate the wine contained in the tanks from the marc formed by the skins and seeds of grapes from which the wine gets its structure, volume and flavorings), unveils a black juice, thick, with purple tints, the aromas of concentrated fruit and of a perfect balance.
Elevage : guidance of wine
After the “écoulage”, in the first and nowadays one of the only underground aging cellars of Pomerol, the malolactic fermentation takes place in bordeaux barrels of 225 liters (since the 1998 vintage).
The wine is then entirely aged for 18 months to 2 years in French « merrain » oak barrels from various suppliers. 50% of the barrels are completely new and 50% have already experienced the aging of one vintage of Château le Croix de Gay.
Chantal Lebreton has inherited from her father a perfectionist and hardworking spirit. Bringing her sensitivity to this family legacy, it is by discrete notes of femininity that she creates every year a new vintage of Château La Croix de Gay for your greatest pleasure. She carries on the family work and inheritance, hereby justifying the great consistency of the wines of Château La Croix de Gay, that she wants an icon of the appellation and that the Féret of 1929 compared to a « véritable liqueur ferrugineuse. » (real iron liquor), alluding to this major feature of the terroir of Pomerol which give the wine roundness and typical bouquet of violet then truffle 2
1. Peter Sichel. Président de l’Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux de 1989 à 1991.
2. Parker R. Bordeaux, a comprehensive guide to the wines produced from 1961-1990. New York : Simon & Schuster. 1991. p 593.