The terroir

The outstanding climate and geological conditions of Pauillac enable the making of very great wines. The appellation includes 18 classified growths among which are 3 out of the 5 first classified growths of 1855.

The Pauillac landscape is shaped by hilltops of gravels where the cabernet-sauvignon finds its favorite terroir.

The four components of the terroir are: the soil, the climate, the choice of the vine and the human contribution.

The soil
The vineyard of the estate consists of 2 parts, one of deep gravels and the other of chalky clay and chalky limestone. This kind of soil gives to the wine its power and its minerality.

A large area of these gravelly soils overlooks the Gironde estuary. The gravels have been brought by the river from the Pyrenees about the quaternary. Elles reposent sur une roche mère calcaire. En effet, certaines parcelles situés autour de la propriété présentent un affleurement naturel de calcaire.
In addition to the nature of the soil, the holes and bumps landform of one part of the vineyard plays an important role in the drainage of the rain water. The « jalles » between the hilltops are draining brooklets that do away with the exceeding water. It makes it necessary for the roots of the vines to grow deep to get the water it needs.   This terroir has a great quality, it limits the growth of the vines and has no fear of the drought.

The climate
As it lies between the Atlantic Ocean and the large Gironde estuary, the Medoc vineyard is under a temperate, mild, wet, ocean climate.

The choice of the grape variety 
The grape varieties authorized at Pauillac are cabernet-sauvignon, merlot, cot, carménère, cabernet franc and petit verdot.

Cabernet sauvignon accounts for the majority of the Pauillac AOC (protected designation of origin).  It provides the wine with its structure, its bouquet, and its aging potentialities. Then comes merlot which brings roundness to the wines.

The estate of Haut-Bages Libéral consists of 30 hectares, with 70% of cabernet-sauvignon and 30%of    merlot.   

The human contribution
Man is one of the elements of the terroir. Through his cultural practices and his actions, he puts his mark. He adapts the vines (clone and rootstock) according to the nature of the soil and the microclimate.

As wine growers, we are to handle a heritage by permanently adapting and questioning ourselves to improve the fruits of our vineyards.

La biodynamie

Our vineyard in biodynamics farming

Château Hau-Bages Libéral is on the way of getting the organic farming certification. This first certification will allow the estate to continue its fight for the protection of the environment and eventually claim a biodynamic farming certification.

It took several years for the achievement of this approach. They had to get familiar with it and make it part of the daily life of the property. Today it federates our teams that are totally involved in it.

This orientation is the fruit of an awareness that we inherited an exceptional terroir which needs to be protected and to live on thanks to organic vine growing.

The idea is to go further in the quest of finding the balance between the vine and its natural environment and at the same time give the vine the energy necessary to protect itself from diseases.

The enhancement of the terroir by these environmental-friendly cultural methods opens the way to more finesse, depth and balance in our wines revealing their minerality and a vibrating freshness which is the signature of great wines on a great terroir.

Some words on the principles of biodynamic farming

La vinification

The winemaking

The winery was completely renovated in 2001 and since 2017 a second renovation has been on its way under the direction of the famous Bordeaux architect Fabien Pédelaborde who also renovated Château Ferrière , a third classified growth at Margaux owned by Claire Villars Lurton.  This new distribution of the spaces and the embellishment of the place bring up the property to the standards of a classified growth.

The wine cellar

The wine cellar consists of two units (16 concrete vats and 16 inox vats) linked by a glass roofed structure where the grapes are brought. All the vats are thermo-regulated and are of various capacity. The capacity has been chosen according to the average production of each parcel and each sub-parcel, considering the terroir, the variety, the age of the vine to be harvested in due time to adapt a precise and different winemaking according to each terroir.

The Ageing

After its vinification Château Haut-Bages Liberal wine is aged between 16 to 18 months according to the vintage in barrels of fine grain French oak renewed by 50% every year for the fist wine and 15% for the second wine. This stage is important and allows to stabilize the wine.

The ageing cellar takes into consideration the temperature and hygrometry required for the best ageing conditions thanks to its automatic processing of the temperature about 15° to 16°C and of the humidity about 80%.

Rapidly, the blending of the wine takes place at the beginning of the year following the harvest.

The wine is clarified with egg white before being be bottled. This practice avoids a final filtration.