An exchange of land in return for vines with the neighbouring abbey at La Sauve-Majeure attests to the fact that wine has been produced here since the XIIth century. However, there is no record in the abbey archives of where vinification actually took place. It is easy to imagine that the wine was made close to ‘Castelneau’ benefitting from its protection. In any case, the buildings are the product of two phases of construction, first in the XVIth and then in the XVIIIth century.
Today the ‘chai’ is divided into three sections:
These vats have a cooling system using first of all water from a well (at 11oC), supplemented by refrigeration.
Since 2007 a new building houses a new chai de vinification, which is used solely for the estate’s white wines.
The first part is used for the vinification and ageing of our old Semillon grapes which give us our Entre-deux-Mers “Réserve du Château”. The grapes arrive early in the morning, are pressed and the juice kept cold and decanted/allowed to settle over the course of the day. The next morning the clear juice on the surface is put into barrels, where it will ferment often much more slowly than in a vat.
The 18 barrels used are made from French oak from the Vosges and Tronçay, from American oak of the Missouri and two come from forests of the Ukraine. Ten are new and eight are one year old, having already aged last year’s Réserve.
The second ‘chai’ is reserved for the ageing of our red wines.