Clay-calcareous soil on the plateau part ( 30 cm clay, then, the rock ) .On the slopes to the river, sandy soil with lots of gravel and alluvium in the upper layer . When you look at the river , you see on the side an old tower, a sort of watch tower , which was built by the "black prince" during the 100 years war ( 1350-1415 ).
The Estate is in one block, 30 hectares, cut in two by the road . High standing vines, to better catch the sunlight . Here, they keep the leaves and don't follow the trend to cut off the leaves . This allows not to chaptilize, and here they reach 13° naturally . Hand harvest . 50 persons for that purpose, but they don't sleep on the property . They consider the possibility of using mechanical harvesters in the future as hiring people ( recurrent french problem ) is a headache and a lot of worries and administrative paperwork . At that time of the year, they are obliged to hire someone just to take care of all the administration-imposed paperwork... Long time ago, on this plot under the road , there were only white grape varieties : Muscadelle, Sauvignon, Pinot Blanc, Colombard Blanc... Red varieties were planted here in the 1960's .
We walk into the 1st cask cellar , guided by Mrs Taverny , the owner's mother ( Mr Taverny is absent ) . Majority Taransaud casks in the room . The wine stays more than 18 months in casks . Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon separately . The 2003 wine will be bottled february 2006 . So, Harvest . Then vinified in cement vats . Levurage after 2-3 days maceration . Then free-run juice goes to tronconic-shaped wooden vats ( by
Seguin-Moreau) and the must is pressed ( very lightly ) . Microbubbling . Then, goes back to the cement vats to have the malolactic fermentation started . Malo is starting more easily in cement vats, due to the nature of the cement itself, wich keeps some living elements on its surface .
Second cask cellar . This is a nice old chai, more than 100 year old, see the beams on the ceiling ( picture above ). Casks come from several cooperages : Vicard, Trust (Hungary), Magsar (Hungary), Mendocino (California), Taransaud .
All along our visit, one of the two dogs of the owners followed us . I love these family estates where the dog enjoys the company of the visitors, laying down on each of our pauses ( as here on the left, in front of the first cask cellar ) and looking at us with obvious contentment as we sip the wines...
So, let's sip the wines now !
__1 Chateau Tayac, Rubis du Prince Noir 2002 . Merlot ( 80%), the rest in Cabernet Sauvignon . I remember the name , this is the first one from their wines that I tasted at the Caves Fillot tasting . 5,4 Euro w/o tax .
__2 Chateau Tayac Cotes de Bourg Cuvée Reservée 2001 . 50% Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon . Fine nose . Round . Good value at 8 Euro w/o tax .
__4 Chateau Tayac Cotes de Bourg "Les Terrasses" 2001 . This cuvée was made in 2001 and 2003 only . 16 months in 70% new Taransaud casks . 90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon . . Vines aged 40 years on average . 12,08 Euro . A lot of substance . Fills well the mouth . Great . Rated twice 17,5 for Vinoveritas . That's Merlot ! Discreet wood . Wood aromas were toned down by bottling , she says .
__5 Chateau Tayac Cotes de Bourg "Cuvée Reservée" 1996 . Tile-red colour . Not easy to appreciate after this great wine we just had . Maybe it passed its peak already ( even if 9 years is not very old for a Bordeaux ) .