Château La Tour Carnet: Vineyards

As noted in my introduction, Château La Tour Carnet lies in the commune of St-Laurent du Médoc, just outside the appellation of St Julien. The estate covers more than 100 hectares, so naturally it includes a wide diversity of soils. In the east of the commune, where Château La Tour Carnet is situated, rich gravel beds prevail, the same gravel that runs beneath vineyards of the more famous communes of Pauillac, St Julien and others. The vineyards have a gentle slope with an aspect facing south-south-west, and beneath the gravel underfoot there is also clay and limestone in parts. One part of the vineyard, to the west, is unusual in that the vines are planted on a limestone hillock, a geological curiosity known locally as the butte (hillock) or chapeau (hat) of La Tour Carnet.

Château La Tour Carnet

The vines cover approximately 75 hectares of the 100 hectares available. The varieties planted are 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 39% Merlot, the 11% balance being Cabernet Franc, and they are on average 24 years old. They are planted at a density of 8,000 to 10,000 vines per hectare, and are pruned according to the double Guyot method, the aim being yields typically between 40 and 45 hl/ha. They are trained high to improve ventilation in the canopy, and there may be some cautious leaf-stripping to improve aeration on the first strip, and ripening of the fruit later during the growing season on the second strip. Green harvesting is also employed. In other words, the work is quite typical. The viticultural philosophy is conventional rather than leaning towards any organic or biodynamic practices, as I think is clearly suggested by some of the images of the vineyard I present on this page.

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