After the harvest, our grapes are brought directly into our cellars with the greatest care, where they will be pressed. The recovered juices will be classified in different batches, depending on their quality and provenance. But because noble rot dehydrates the grapes, the yields are very low, between 10 to 20 hectoliters per hectare. For comparison, a vine can produce more than one bottle of wine, it is only one glass in Sauternes.
The grapes will be pressed a first time with pneumatic presses, then with a very old hydraulic press, from which the most concentrated juices will flow. These will then be conveyed by gravity in different refrigerated underground tanks, where they will stay for one night. The next morning, clarification will be done to separate the clear juices from the lees. Then they will be sent into other containers for alcoholic fermentation.
The Sauternes production is all about a precise and careful selection. To create wines of remarkable quality, one single requirement: select the best of the best.
A vinification without artifices
Our will is translated by a traditional vinification without artifice. Our winemaking methods have not changed much since the beginnings. Our decision: to allow our terroirs give their full expression and act as less as possible to create pure and balanced wines of optimal quality. Our signature is simply revealed in growing the vine in an ideal way, but also in our work in the cellars, and in the choice of our blends.
Since 2014, alcoholic fermentation in barrels has been back (15 days to 3 weeks long) for Haut-Bergeron, Farluret and Fleur des Pins Sec. This ancestral technique brings more structure and complexity to the wine, with a more integrated oak. For the rest of the production the vinification is made in a classic way, in thermo-regulated stainless steel tanks. At that stage, density and temperature are checked every day in order to follow the progression of the vinification. The alcoholic fermentation then ends naturally.
The hardest thing in winemaking is doing nothing
A smooth ageing
Once the fermentation is complete, the juices becomes wines will be racked (cleared), and back to French oak barrels to begin their ageing. They will stay there for 12 to 22 months depending on their quality and strength. Ageing is a stage which requires patience and support. We remain close to our barrels, making frequent tastings to monitor their evolution. We try to influence the wine as less as possible.
The rackings are adapted to the typicity of the wine and a regular topping up (the quantity of wine in the barrels is adjusted) is realized in order to limit the wine oxydation.
During the ageing stage, we work in harmony with the lunar cycles and also avoid any manipulation of the wines on low atmospheric pressure days.
A singular blend
At the end of the ageing process, each original batch, will be tasted in order to design the final blend. When blending, we aim for the perfect combination of richness and freshness, for an ideal balance. But above all, our ambition is to create wines in our image, singular wines, reflections of our family, which will provide pleasure and emotion.
Bottling and labeling is done by ourselves and these golden bottles will be kept in our cellars until they are sold.
showered with medals
Since 1964, Château Haut-Bergeron has recorded no less than 118 medals, including 68 gold medals, which makes it the most rewarded winery of Sauternes.
The role of women during the war
The role of the spouses has always been important alongside the winemakers, but it became a determining factor during the successive wars. This is the case of Fernande Lamothe who assured all the difficult tasks in the vineyard for several years while her husband Gaston and his employee Adrien, had been called to fight in 1939.
1942 and 1945 were two beautiful vintages.
Jean Paul Kauffman
During his 3-years detention in Lebanon, the journalist writer Jean-Paul Kauffman said that he often used to dream of good wines and among others a certain Haut-Bergeron. In his book ” Voyage à Bordeaux ” he wrote after his release, he talks about our estate and its owner ” The excellent Robert Lamothe ” …
The child of the house
Adrien Lafabrie was a 12-year-old boy born in 1919 in a modest family, when our family welcomed him. Imprisoned during the war at age 19 for 5 years, when he was released, he returned to the farm and fell in love with Germaine, an employee of the Château. Together, they got married at Haut-Bergeron, and lived not far from the winery. For more than 50 years, Adrien and Germaine worked tirelessly for Haut-Bergeron. When he died, Adrien went to join eternity while drinking a bottle of Haut-Bergeron.
Gratifying for Haut Bergeron but dishonest
For a few years, an unscrupulous wine merchant was coming to buy Haut-Bergeron in order to sell them. It was working very well : indeed, he was dressing our bottles with labels, capsules and caps of one of the most famous Chateau of the appellation! An effective way to make a good living, but fortunately, justice has quickly solved this problem.
In 9, great vintages
Did you know ?
For Château Haut-Bergeron, almost all years in 9 are exceptional years!
1929, 1949, 1959, 1969, 1979, 1989, 1999, 2009.
Some years deprived of Château Haut-Bergeron
In viticulture and especially in Sauternes, Mother Nature reigns. We often had the opportunity to check this fact : the years 1927, 1930, 1931, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1938, 1941, 1944, 1951, 1954, 1958, 1960, 1963, 1965, 1974, and 1993 were deprived us of Bergeron (or very few bottles on certain vintages).
In order to unify the vineyard and facilitate the work of viticulture, we have made in recent years an exchange of parcels of equivalent quality with our illustrious neighbor Yquem. A 60-ares plot ares that we cherish preciously
Robert, an exceptional man
Robert Lamothe has been one of the main actors in the dynamics of Haut-Bergeron during the last 50 years. But his role in the profession and interprofession was also decisive. The highest responsibilities at the Syndicat and at the Maison du Sauternes, his involvement with the CIVB, the INAO and the FDGVB were hailed in December 2005 by the Chevalier medal and then the Commander of the Mérite Agricole, awarded by the minister of the agriculture of the time.
Our “old ladies”
Following the catastrophic episode of Phylloxera, some rows of vines have fortunately survived. These vines, we call “our old ladies”, are today more than 100 years old ! Guarantors of the past, we pay them special attention, and their grapes, collected with the greatest care, have been dedicated to a special cuvée since 1996. The vines are 100% Sémillon and they are the great pride of the Château. Surprisingly fresh, precise and balanced, endowed with a wide aromatic palette and an endless length, this exceptional nectar with a honeyed taste will make you feel like you are a bee the time of a tasting.
A plot of exception
In 1990, the property expanded thanks to the purchase of a plot located between the two branches of Ciron. It’s a small island !
Unique in Sauternes ! Ideally located, this plot benefits from a prodigious development of noble rot !