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Bordeaux is an emblematic wine region
Who doesn't know the wines of Bordeaux? It is the wine region with the most appellations, 40 A.O.C. and 2 I.G.P. to date. Known throughout the world, the wines of Bordeaux are among the most prestigious in France.
There are more than 8000 châteaux including the famous Pétrus, Latour and Rothschild. These great names of French wines are part of the Bordeaux region. So many grand crus and vintages, some of the most expensive wines in the world. It is undoubtedly a wine-growing region that makes all lovers of good wine and epicureans dream.
It produces about 80% red wines, but also 11% white wines, 9% rosé wines and some sparkling wines with a global production of 6 million hectoliters per year on average.
In geographical terms, this vineyard is not only located on the city of Bordeaux as its name might indicate but on the whole department of Gironde, along the Garonne and Dordogne rivers with 117 200 hectares of vineyards. There are six sub-regions, namely: the Médoc, the Blayais-Bourgeais, the Graves and Pessac region, the Cérons, Barsac and Sauternes region, the Entre-Deux-Mers and the Libournais.
Take advantage of a stay between the ocean and pine tree forests to discover these exceptional vineyards and castles.
Characteristics of the Bordeaux Vineyard
The Bordeaux vineyard extends over the whole department of Gironde. The presence of the Garonne and the Dordogne rivers brings to the soils good irrigation and allows the vines to grow in good conditions. The rivers also make it possible to regulate sometimes high temperatures. The climate of the region is oceanic with mild winters and hot summers. The sunshine is very advantageous and the rainfall is adequate. However, hailstorms at the end of summer can sometimes be destructive.
It should also be noted that pine forests are a natural defense against the strong winds further west. The landscape of the region is rather flat and clayey. The soils can be divided into two distinct zones: on the one hand, the Blayais, Libournais and Entre-deux-Mers, clayey-limestone soils with neutral PH and on the other hand, the Sauternes, Graves and Médoc, gravelly and acidic soils. These different soils types allow the production of diverse and high quality wines.
The Grape Varieties of the Bordeaux Area
The wines of the Bordeaux region are blending wines. That is to say that they use the association of several different grape varieties. There are many possible associations that mix more or less grape varieties.
There are 6 grape varieties for red wines and 7 grape varieties for white wines.
Bordeaux red wine grape varietiesThe Merlot is the most widespread covering 60% of the red varieties in the vineyard, it is produced on 65 000 hectares. It is a grape variety that adapts to all soils. Its dark blue, almost black berries give supple and aromatic wines..
The Cabernet Sauvignon comes next with 27% of the vineyard on 30,000 hectares. It requires a lot of patience because it is quite late and needs a lot of attention. It brings to the wines their tannic character and well marked aromas.
The Cabernet Franc, which accounts for 13% of the vineyard, is scattered over 14 000 hectares. It grows best on the clay soils with a sandy tendency. It gives the wines a better aging capacity but brings less tannin than its big brother the Cabernet Sauvignon.
We then find three more confidential grape varieties. Malbec, 0.9% of the grape variety because it is more fragile and Le Petit Verdot with 0.4% of the grape variety give tannic and colored wines. And with only 0.1% of the vines, Carménère is also found on 7 hectares. These last ones are historical grape varieties very little present because decimated during the Phylloxera crisis.
Bordeaux white wine grape varietiesThere are 7 grape varieties used for the white wines of Bordeaux.
The Sémillon which gives fat and mellow wines with light aromas. It represents 55% of the grape varieties on 8500 hectares of land. The Sauvignon with 33% of the grape variety on 5000 hectares. It gives aromatic wines full of finesse. The Ugnin blanc, discreet grape variety sown on 400 hectares. And the Colombard which represents only 2% of the grape variety planted on 250 hectares. And in a very confidential way, on 100 hectares cumulated, we find the white Merlot, the Ondenc and the Mauzac.
The Appellations of the Bordeaux area
The vineyard of the Bordeaux region counts 40 appellations d'origines contrôlées that deserve a detour. One can sub categorize the Bordeaux appellations with 3 regional appellations, sub regional appellations, communal appellations and one particular appellation.
The particular appellation Côte de Bordeaux is recognized since 2009. It brings together 4 A.O.C. who wished to share an appellation to develop their sales abroad. This concerns the AOC Premières Côtes de Blaye, Première Côtes de Bordeaux, Côtes de Castillon and Bordeaux Côtes de Francs. Can be added to this particular appellation one of these geographical names: Blaye, Cadillac, Castillon or Francs.
The appellations Bordeaux, Bordeaux Supérieur and Crémant de Bordeaux are regional appellations. The sub-regional appellations are : Médoc, Haut-Médoc, Graves, Blayes, Côtes de Bourg and Entre-deux-mers. There are also communal appellations such as Margaux, Pauillac and Saint-Julien for example. Here are a few details on some of the appellations chosen in a non-exhaustive way:
Premières-Côtes-de-BordeauxPresent in about 40 communes, this sweet white wine is grown in the south-east of the Gironde. To the eye, its robe is golden with green reflections. On the nose, one can distinguish aromas of acacia, citrus fruits and peach. With aging, one will note accents of honey. On the palate, these are very aromatic wines with hints of candied fruit and pineapple. They are fat and mellow. You can enjoy them as an aperitif or with your white meat dishes or fruit desserts.
GraveThe appellation Grave is available in red and white wines. They are produced on the left bank of the Garonne river in the terroir of the same name. The red wines have a marked robe between purple and ruby. They are very recognizable thanks to their perfume of violet and red fruits. In the mouth, they are balanced and velvety wines. They will be ideal to accompany your red meats and cheeses. The white wines are pale yellow with gold or green reflections. You will smell aromas of citrus fruits, broom and exotic fruits. In the mouth, they are full-bodied, fresh and aromatic. You will find in mouth perfumes of flowers.. You will be able to taste them with your fish or shellfish dishes.
Saint EmilionThis AOC is produced around the town of Saint-Emilion, a very touristic medieval city. It offers us tasty red wines. Their dress is ruby then garnet after a few years of aging. On the nose, we can distinguish aromas of fruits of the forest, spices and sometimes vanilla. On the palate, they are tannic and full-bodied wines. Enjoy them with cold meats, sauced dishes and game.
PomerolThe commune of Pomerol gave its name to the AOC. Small wine-growing area but grand taste, it offers us exceptional red wines. To the eye, they reveal a dark red color with garnet reflections. To the nose, they are powerful and are distinguished by their violet and truffle aromas. On the palate, we find the aromas discovered on the nose. They are well-structured and unctuous wines. You will be able to taste them with all your dishes and dry cheeses.
PauillacPauillac is a coastal town. It is an appellation of great renown with great classified growths. They are tannic, powerful and full-bodied red wines. With the years they become more delicate and aromatic. Their robe is very deep and dark. One will discover aromas of morello cherry and red fruits with leather and vanilla accents. You will be able to savor them with red meats and game.
Haut-MédocSituated in the south of the Gironde in the Médoc vineyards, this AOC can be enhanced with six communal appellations. It offers us red wines with an intense robe between the colors bordeaux and garnet. On the nose, one can distinguish aromas of blackcurrant, coffee and wood. They are tannic wines which with the years become more supple and fleshy. You will be able to serve them with all your meats and cheese.
BarsacThe AOC Barsac, which can benefit from the AOC Sauternes, offers sweet white wines concentrated in sugar. We distinguish honey, hazelnut and fruit aromas. With the years one will be able to notice touches of spices and cognac. To the eye, their robe is golden or even amber. In the mouth, they are unctuous and generous. They are fresh and fruity wines. They will accompany your fish and poultry dishes as well as your strong and dry cheeses.
Listed 4330 winemakers
6 million hectolitres per yer (80% red wines + white wines (dry, sweet and fortified), clairet and crémant rosés)
80% red wines, but also 11% white wines, 9% rosé
Soil and subsoil
Gravel, clay-limestone, sand
Reds and rosés : 6 red grape varieties authorised under appellation contrôlee: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Carmenère
Whites : 5 white grape varieties authorised under appellation contrôlee: Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, Muscadelle, Colombard, Ugni Blanc, Merlot Blanc