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After fermentation, the wine is aged for 12 to 15 months in French oak barrels (made of split oak staves form the forests of Central France) 50% to 70% of the barrels are new and 50% to 30% are one-year old.
Air slowly penetrates through the pores in the wood and gently oxidizes the wine. The oak contributes to the elegance of its tannins. At the same time, the restricted volume of the barrel facilitates the precipitation of the lees over the months.During this ageing process the wine is finely racked, thus separating the clear wine from the lees.
Each racking process is carried out from barrel to barrel and clarity is checked by holding a glass of the wine before a candle. Two cellar workers are responsible for this job throughout the year. When one racking cycle has been completed, it is time to start the next one.
Once aged, the wine is returned to the vats to prepare for bottling. At this point, and to ensure that all bottles are perfectly identical, another assembling operation is carried out: The wine from the new barrels and the wine from the one-year old barrels have aged differently.
The following fining process uses egg whites to clarify and stabilize the wine and any particles precipitate to form a deposit, preventing the sediment being transferred to the bottle.
Bordeaux Vintage Report by Tb / If 1962 was also a fabulous year, it fell irrevocably in the shadow of 1961. The cold winter, with its biting frosts, allowed the vines to get a well-deserved rest after their hard work in 1961. The growing season started three weeks late. When the vines finally sprouted in mid-June, the weather improved. Toward fall, the weather warmed measurably, with the resulting drought ultimately having a negative impact on the vines. The few bountiful September harvests arrived just in time to save the grapes from vine wilting. The harvest, which resulted in the largest harvest of the 1950s and 1960s, did not begin until October 1. Few people believed that the vintage would be as good as it became. An excellent vintage for dry whites, reds and Sauternes. As for Sauternes, the year 1962 is clearly better than that of 1961. The best reds were Cheval Blanc, Pétrus and Mouton-Rothschild. A common characteristic of the best wines from 1962 today is their serene and balanced appearance. Only a few show real body and complexity, but they work well especially as dinner wines, also because of their excellent availability and affordability. Even the best wines should not be decanted for more than an hour.