The tour guide at LaTour Martillac.
Tours are given in French, German or English at this chateau.
The tour provided by the wine association at BEM was given in French because most were French nationals. Thankfully I had two friends there who speak French and English who gave me the gist of what was said at times. By the end of the tour, I was very curious about the production of the wine so I asked the tour guide for an extremely quick explanation in English. He kindly obliged.
Above, the sliver cylinder to the left is used to press the grapes. White wine is pressed very softly and very carefully. The red wine grapes are first very thoroughly looked through to make sure there are no stems left on the grapes, otherwise the wine becomes acidic. Red wine is then put in the big wooden barrel (on the right hand side of the picture above) with all of the juice, fruit, and seeds. The bits and pieces rise to the top of the barrel and form a "cap", it's like a sponge. This is where the red wine gets its color. Twice a day for three weeks, the juice is sucked out of the bottom and pumped back into the top to mix with the cap.
White wine only goes through this twice daily cycle process for one week, otherwise it would become too dry and bitter.
All of the wine (from three types of grapes) are stored in barrels for one and a half years before bottling.
The winery only mixes the different types of wine from the different grapes after it has aged and right before bottling. The red wine, when it is older than ten years before being sold, is called "LaTour Martillac" and the younger red wine is called "Martillac". The white wine is specific to this region and is called "Le Grave" and has no wine classification system because it is different from other white wines.
These are the white (left, 17.50 euros) and red (right, 25 euros) wines we tasted.
Surprisingly, I enjoyed both the red and white. I learned that when the wine is more viscous (it sticks to the glass more) the grapes had more sugar in them so there is more alcohol content. The flavor also tends to stick in your throat longer. In this case, the white was more viscous.
I still wouldn't choose red wine or dry white wine if a sweet white wine is available, but I have come to appreciate red and dry wine for what they are.