Hugues, Michèle & Patrick Daubas

Hugues, Michèle & Patrick Daubas

1st Generation: Andre (1876 – 1945) acquired the Estate which consisted at that point of a small-sized planted surface area, a house and some outbuildings. At first, he devoted himself to the wine and spirits trade before concentrating on enhancing the value of his own Estate. Stones were brought in by boat from quarries located on the Right Bank of The Garonne. He had a tower with crenels constructed – Chateau Tour Bicheau was born.

2nd Generation: Richard (1895 – 1971) his son, received a good education prior to enlisting in the first World War. He was stationed on the front where he was responsible for reestablishing damaged connections. After the war, he helped his father with the commercialisation.

3rd Generation: Jacqueline (1923 – 2003), his grand daughter, got married to Yvan, a son of wine grower. By this time, the property was mainly producing white wine. Following the frosts of 1956, he replanted the vineyard with red wine. Taking advantage of the economic recovery and the European and world wide opening of the market, he made his wine famous abroad, by serving it in first class on Phillipine Air Lines.

4th generation: Hugues, born in 1947, son of Jacqueline and Yvan. He rapidly understood that a “great wine” can only be made from a “great grape”. Therefore, with the help of his wife Michèle, he created a high quality vineyard and little by little doubled the planted surface area. He then built a modern vat room, set up a wine storehouse made of oak barrels and modernized all the production material.

5th generation: Patrick is born in 1983. After completing vine growing and oenology studies, he went on to exploit his passion of combining the traditional savoir faire transmitted by his family with modern oenology techniques. A new page in the history of this wine grower’s family remains to be written…

The vineyard

The vineyardThe vineyard is located on the plateau of Haut Portets. It extends from the main RN 113 road to the forest, in a hightly esteemed area which provides the most pedigree and the noblest wines of the appellation.

It is a sunny, dry and colourful place.

Without the strength of the river’s waves, our ground would never have inherited those round pebbles which generate this wonderful wine.
At the high spots of the subsoil, the ground is sandy with gravels, and on the slopes, the soil is made of clay and limestone or clay with gravels.

In some places, the vineyard is planted with old vines (more than 50 years old). Being less vigorous, they provide smaller and more concentrated grapes.

The four grape varieties represented in the vineyard are merlot (70%), cabernet sauvignon (30%) for the red grapes, Semillon (70%) and sauvignon (30%) for the white.
The maintenance of the vines is entirely managed by hand (side shout removal, tying-up, leaf plucking, crop thinning and the harvest).

Manual grape harvest

Manual grape harvestTheDaubas family adheres to a 100 % hand-piked harvest.

To avoid the oxidation of the grape and to respect its integrity, the cut bunches are carried in low-capacity harvest trug.
These containers are small in order to facilitate the manneuvrability between the rows to ensuring that the harvest is transpoted to the vat room as quickly as possible to protecting it from oxidation.

The picked Bunches are then sorted by hand in order to select only the healthy and undamaged grapes, necessary to produce a quality wine.

The cellars

The cellarsThe vat room used for the vinification is very functional due to the alignment of its 11 vats.

Moreover, as they are entirely made of stainless steel, the regulation of fermentation temperatures is easier.

The vinification

The vinificationFor white wines
Once pressed, the musts are put into stainless steel settling vats.
The Vats’ temperatures are lowered to 8°C for the settling of the juice, which lasts between 24 and 28 hours.

For red wines
All the vats are in stainless steel in to facilitate temperature control.
The alcoholic fermentation occurs between 27 to 30°C thanks to a thermic regulation system. The maceration allows the extraction of the tannins and of the colour of the pomace, which stays in contact with the wine for three weeks.
The maceration is combined with pumping over (the pomace is sprayed twice a day).
Before the aging process, the red wines spend approximately three weeks in malolactic fermentation at 20°C. Once this last fermentation is over, the wine is put into barrels.

The aging

The agingAging is the period between the end of the vinification and the bottling.
It lasts approximately 18 months for the red wine, during which, we will do our best to stabilize and clarify it, and keep its primary and secondary aroma while preparing its tertiary aromas.

The wine will spend 12 to 14 months in oak barrels in order to increase the aromatic complexity linked to the constituents extracted from the wood and to the work of the oxygen.

Red wines are then blended grape variety by grape variety before the final blending: 70% merlot, 30% cabernet sauvignon. This blending can also vary but always remains dominated by the merlot.

Every 15 days, the barrels are topped up.
Finally, the wine is bottled on the Estate.

Technical notes

Château Tour BicheauA.O.C.: GRAVES
Production: 10.000 cases (Red), 1.500 cases (White)
Area planted: 25 hectares (21.5 in red and 3.5 in white)
Geology: Graves
Grape variety: Red: 70% Merlot/30% of Cabernet Sauvignon; White: 70% Sémillon/30% Sauvignon Blanc
Average age of vines: 35 years
Rootstock: 101.14/3309C
Plantation density: 5.555 vines by hectare
Time spent in the vat: 24 to 32 days
Fermentation temperatures: Red: 28°C; White: 20°C
Regulation mode: Streaming thermo-regulation
Types of vats: White: 3 vats in stainless steel; Red: 8 vats in stainless steel
Barrels age: ¼ of new barrels
Hength of aging: Red: 12 to 14 months
Owners: Hugues, Michèle et Patrick Daubas