It was interesting to hear about their wood management program for the casks. They buy 30% from Demptos, 30% from Seguin Moreau, 30% from another major producer, then they play around with the next 10% buying from smaller coopers to try out the wood and see how it affects the wines. The last few days have really altered my persective of how the wood influences the wines. In the past, I had always considered (or been led to believe) that the choice of wood was crucial to the further development of the wines. To the extent that the exact forest the oak came from being a critical factor. However as was pointed out to us at Demptos, each forest is different, the trees are all different, so to say that Alliers oak is the best, or Troncais oak is, is kind of a falacy.
From the barrel store we went through to the pressing room, where the grapes are recieved during the harvest. Coutet has the original wooden troughs that the grapes were first pressed in, by the feet of the labourers no less. Nowadays they use basket presses with pnuematic lifts.
There are little railway tracks in the cellar floor to move the trolleys that hold the baskets around. The juice is squeezed from the grapes and runs though the little spigot in the side of the trolley and down into a steel vat. From there it is pumped into barrels for fermentation. We were treated to a taste of the 2005 from cask, and although Im not really into sweet wine, it was a very nice wine, rich without being cloying, still fairly sharp with acidity and a lovely long fruity finish - golden raisins, a touch of mango and tropical fruit flavours.
It was all over. Time to head back to Lamothe for a spot of lunch before heading of to Bordeaux airport and back to Blighty. Damien took us on a slight diversion so we could see Chateau d'Yquem.And so our trip came to an end. I would like to thank Damien, Maria and Anne for their fabulous hospitality and for opening their home to us and looking after us so very well. Thanks also to Nige from Rodney Densem wines for inviting me along. I plan to list a few of the wines that we tasted on the trip, so more about them later.