When Benjamin Sichel took charge of wine-making operations at Château Angludet in 1989, he set himself the task of optimising the vines' natural balance. In Benjamin's view, the vines ought to be allowed to regulate themselves naturally, without any assistance. The role of the groweris to provide the means to foster this balance.
Consequently, in winter, severe pruning limits the potential production of each vine to eight bunches per plant, to produce 45 hectolitres per hectare.
A leaf surface area of 1.2m² per grapevine fosters ripening, and grass cover is used when necessary to curb excessive vigour. Plant cover may be used to fertilise and promote microbial activity in the earth and raise soil quality. In addition to these techniques, manual leaf thinning helps aerate the bunches, while green harvesting is the ultimate means of regulating grapevine yield and ensuring uniform veraison.
This skilful blend of integrated, organic and alternative management practices protects the environment and preserves the terroir for future generations.Fermentation takes place in concrete vats which offer the advantage of excellent thermal inertia during the maceration phase.Fermentation and extraction of the grape skin components are adjusted according to the potential of the vintage to help preserve its typical characteristics.
The wine is then aged in barrels for 12 months. Every year, 30-35% of new oak barrels are introduced, sourced from a number of cooperages carefully selected to ensure complementarity; these barrels play a role in the ageing and complexity of the wine.
The wine is lightly fined with egg white before bottling.
However, at Château Angludet more than anywhere else, we know that there is no single, lasting recipe: every year, we question current practices to be able to act in response to the meteorological conditions and the state of the vines.
The Cabernet Franc - Could it be one of our oldest grape varieties?
In his ampelographical treatise of 1909, P. Viala stated that the etymology of its name and its synonyms go way back in history and referred to a scholar of the 17th century called Petit Lafitte, who appeared to claim that the Vidure (the Petite Vidure or the Grosse Vidure)-its Bordeaux name, was the ancestor of the Biturica. He bases his opinion on the hypothesis that the word Vidure may come from the word Bidure, then Biturica. It was from the 19th century that the Cabernet Franc could be found in written works. In 1829, in his “Classification of the Wines of Bordeaux and Specific Grape Varieties”, the wine broker M. Paguierre found it to be “delicate with a bright deep colour and with superior flavour”. Then in 1855, in “Vine-growing, Vinification and Wine” by M. d’Armailhacq, an article by the Count Odart stated that the wine it produces is “fine, full of bouquet and long-ageing”.
At this time already, specific reference was being made to the very notion of terroir and the nature of the soils. He also wrote that “according to the spot where it was planted, the results were different: on limestone soils the wine was outstanding; on gravel over clay subsoil it produced a wine that was rich in colour and long ageing; on light sands the wine was light and had limited ageing potential; in tuff the wines were of no interest, it was flat and colourless”. In other words, the place where it was planted and its supply of water were of great importance. We are also told that the wine of this variety “keeps for a very long time and gains in bouquet and delicacy over 12 to 15 years... and it can keep well up to 20 years”. In 1868, Cocks et Ferret described it as having “ leaves which were comparable to those of the Cabernet Sauvignon, they are slightly less fine and less shiny, their indentations are a little less deep; its canes are long and covered with light brown-greyish bark, which led to its name Cabernet Gris. Its bunches are less long than those of the Cabernet Sauvignon, its fruit is very flavoursome”.
In 1874, in his treatise on grape varieties, Count Odart said that the wine it produced in suitable terroir was “ fine, full of bouquet and long-ageing”. He added that “ it was one of the plants in Gironde that had the reputation of producing one of the most distinguished wines when the fruit reaches complete ripeness”. In 1886, again in Cocks et Ferret, we can read that the wine is “light in colour when it leaves the vat and that it becomes darker after three or four months”, a fact that we witness today during each of our vinifications. The Cabernet Franc has numerous synonyms.
According to “Synonymy of Ampelography” by the INRA, it can correspond to different origins and types: Achéria –the Basque country, Arrouya – the Jurançon region, Bouchet or Gros Bouchet – around Libourne, Bouchey or Boubet - the Adour basin, Breton – the Loire valley, Capbreton rouge and Messange rouge – the Landes sands, Gouhaort – Madiran, Noir dur – Loiret, Grosse Vidure and Carmenet – the Bordeaux area, Véronais – Saumur, Cabernet Gris and Petit Fer – around Libourne, Carbouet – Bazas area. P. Galet, in “Grape Varieties and Vineyards of France” described it in 1962 as a “ small producer”. Jancis Robinson, in her1986 book on grape varieties wrote, “ it participates in Saint-Emilion in the production of absolutely superb wines. Its aromas are of raspberries, violets and pencil shavings”. She reminds us that a report dating from the 18th century, quoted by Professor Enjalbert, considered it particularly well adapted to the Libourne vineyards.