Balthus is a red Bordeaux Superieur made at Chateau de Reignac. Chateau de Reignac was purchased by the current owners,Yves et Stephanie Vatelot, in 1990 and since then there has been an extensive renovation programme, including the introduction of many new innovations, and the signing-up Michel Rolland as consultant oenologist. The Vatelots have worked ever since to create a wine that clearly outperforms its humble Bordeaux Supérieur appellation. They recognized the exceptional terroir that would produce a wine to rival the top Grand Cru Classé châteaux at a fraction of the price. Essentially the red winemaking is quite traditional but with one critical element of innovation. For Reignac (from 2003 vintage) and the deluxe cuvée Balthus (100% old vine merlot) Yves Vatelot has patented a double purpose barrel in which grapes undergo both alcoholic and malolactic fermentations as well as ageing in the same small new French oak barrique. The lees are kept in suspension by a system of external rotation wheels and an internal stirring device fixed to a detachable barrel end. After racking, this device is replaced with a traditional barrel end to allow aging for 16 to 20 months in the new oak. The wine is bottled without fining or filtration. The Balthus Estate, acquired in 2001, only produces this one red wine which is 100% Merlot aged for 19 months in 100% new oak.