What is a Grand Vin?
The word “Grand” in front of vin immediately attracts the eye and raises our hopes that we're about to taste a good quality French wine.The Bordeaux and Burgundy regions have their own official quality classifications (Grand Cru, Cru Classé, Premier Cru etc..) guaranteeing that the wine has been produced under quality specifications. Adding “Grand Vin” to a label suggests a similar feeling of quality and guarantee. Hopefully it is, but in fact any wine producer is entitled to use the words “Grand Vin” on their labels without any conditions attached. It’s a positive and useful way for vineyards that are not part of any particular classification region and system to differentiate their best wines.
Our first Grand Vin will be from our 2011 harvest where we have carefully selected our premier vines and have pampered these grapes. We allowed no more than three bunches per plant during our green harvest in July, then later in August dropped to the ground all the ones that were slow to mature, and cutting 1/3 away from the remaining chosen ones.
After a meticulous hand harvest, we searched hard to select the right French oak barrels in which to raise our first “Grand Vin”. The choice and high quality of our barrels was very important to us. We needed to consider the origin of the wood used (even down to the exact forest they came from), charred, and the way in which the barrels were made. All these factors help to shape the aromas, flavours and complexity of our future wine. For us at Tour De Belfort this is the first time in our production history that we have aged our wines in oak barrels. This process allows a very light and natural oxygenation; it also allows a slight evaporation of water and alcohol concentrating the aromas. Tannins and flavours from the oak barrel will further add to the complexities and aromas blending softly in our wine.
We're delighted to report that our first white Grand Vin is to be 100% Chardonnay and our first red will be 100% Malbec. We will be offering these very special “Grands Vins” as a limited edition with only 300 bottles from each of our four oak barrels giving us 1200 bottles in total.
With the unoaked vintages we have produced since 2008 we have successfully achieved lovely and complex wines thanks to our very low yields, great care and sorting of each and every grape and our own special blending of four different grape varieties. Our wines are full of fruit, freshness, and softness with a delightful length. And we're absolutely working for and hoping for many more similarly enjoyable vintages.
For our Grand Vin we have, for this year, chosen not to blend but to pick one sole grape variety for each that will be enhanced with the added complexity and flavours of being raised in oak barrels. This month’s tasting at our Domaine has provided us with our first preview of our “Grand Vin” - and as a result we're really very excited at what's in store! We're thrilled to report we have a great Chardonnay and a full-bodied, very fruity Malbec with new soft, silky tannins and flavours from our barrels. A wine to keep.... and to drink! Coming soon this autumn.