Bordeaux

The world of Big reds and lusciously sweet wine.

 

Bordeaux is located South west France.

 

The fine wine produced here from Bordeaux first growths and Grand Cru Classes can sells for over 1,000 per bottle.

 

Bordeaux is a big player in the world of fine wine crafting age worthy wine from Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. 

 

There is more Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon planted in South West a France then anywhere else in the world. 

 

Most Bordeaux wine is sold "en Primeur" meaning the wine is still in the barrel. This allows cash flow for the winery. 

 

By volume, Bordeaux produces the most AOC wine

 

Bordeaux is kind of a big deal within the wine world, scroll down or the click the links above to navigate yourself around the page. 

History

 

Ancient History

Romans introduced the vine to Bordeaux 

 

310-393 AD 

Bordeaux native Ausonius was a poet and scholar, spread the word about Bordeaux wine. Chateau Ausone is named after him.

 

Invasion 

Bordeaux was invaded over and over again my several different tribes. 

 

1152 - First Golden Age

 

Highly significant marriage within European history

Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine married Henry Plantagenet Count of Anjou. 

Henry became King Henry II of England and Duke of Normandy. 

 

England had control of areas within Southwest France such as Gascony, Aquitaine which covers several departments such as Dordogne, Garonne, Landes, Lot-et-Garonne and Pyrenees-Altantiques 

 

The connection France and England had together created a strong trade between countries. The wine industry within Bordeaux flourished. 

 

England was predominately Catholic, wine was needed for mass. 

Bordeaux essentially became England's vineyard. 

 

Transport was also relatively easy for this region as it is located near the Atlantic Ocean. 

 

War 

In 1453 France banished the English and claimed back Bordeaux 

 

1600s

New market 

The Dutch became highly interested in Bordeaux wine. 

 

The Dutch wanted

  • White wine to distill into eau de vie "water of life"

  • Sweet white wine

 

Bordeaux responded to demand and shifted production accordingly. 

 

1700s Second Golden Age

Bordeaux's wine market expanded, wine was not only of the English anymore. New trade with other countries was initiated. 

 

Wealthy wine merchants profiting during this period built massive, luxurious Chateaux with surrounding vineyards

 

1789

The French Revolution

 

Unlike in Burgundy, Bordeaux vineyards were not run by the Churches. There was no fractionalisation of the vineyards. 

 

Most wine estates were owned privately, the revolution effected the Merchants and especially the Foreign Merchants. Wine trade came to a halt as the Port was avoided due to fear of the conflict with the revolutionary France.  

 

1800s

Trade began to pick up again for Bordeaux. 

Railroad enabled transport of wine to inland France

 

1852

Reconnecting with England

Napoleon III took over France and rebuilt it's relationship with Enlgand

 

Just as trade began to pick up, a series of vineyard pests destroyed vines throughout the region

 

1852 

Powdery mildew 

1865

Phylloxera

1880

Downy mildew

 

1935

57 AOCs were established to regulate and classify the wines of the region.

 

1956

Deep freeze killed 1/4 of all the vines in Bordeaux. The land was replanted with red grapes 

 

1982- 3rd Golden Age

Thanks to the great vintage of 1982 and the review given to the wine by Mr Robert. Bordeaux captured the attention of the wine world. 

 

1999

The town of St. Emilion became a UNESCO "world heritage site"

 

2007

The city of Bordeaux became a UNESCO "world heritage site"

 

Every second year Vinexpo, the largest wine fair in the world takes place here. 

 

Bordeaux is reigns supreme within France, this region has the greatest % of large wine estates. Produces most of Frances fine wine and 1/4 of all AOC wine in France. 

Napoleon III

Location

 

Bordeaux is located in Southwest France

 

100km North to South

 

125km East to West

 

Almost  5 times the size of a Burgundy 

 

To the west of the region is the Atlantic Ocean 

 

Bordeaux lies within the French region Aquitaine 

Climate

 

Climate is Maritime 

 

The Atlantic Gulf Stream - Warms and regulates temperatures 

 

Les Landes - Europe's largest man made forest. A million hectares of pine forest is located of the Western side of Bordeaux. The forest acts as a shield and protects the region from ocean winds and storms. 

 

Gironde Estuary - Several rivers flow through the region and empty into the Gironde Estuary. The large bodies of water help to keep temperatures consistent. The river come into the region for approx 120km. 

 

The sub region named "Entre-Deux-Mers" is located in between 2 of these rivers 

The Dordogne and Garonne rivers.

 

 

Spring 

Rainy and frost becomes a risk to vines. A severe frost can massively reduce yields.

 

Summer

Weather is warm and the sun is shining. 

Oceanic influences being cloud cover. 

Grapes struggle to ripen, and even in their best vintages they never reach he same ripeness level are warmer climates.

Bordeaux wines are not fruit forward, the aromas are leather, cigar box, tobacco, cocoa, herb, tea, graphite etc 

 

Autumn

In some years their is rain and  following the rain is humidity and then rot. 

Rain risks

The roots will also suck up the water and translocate it to grapes, this will dilute the flavour and result un concentrated flavours with little structure.

Yields are at risk depending on the severity of the rain. 

Rot risk

Has the potential to ruin a crop 

 

Winter

Mild, temperatures can drop significantly. 

In 1956 winter freeze destroyed a 1/4 of all vineyards in Bordeaux. Malbec  lost 1/3 of it's acreage and was never re-planted, since the change a lot less Malbec is in the blend. 

Geology

 

The soil and terroir will determine what grape is planted. 

 

In Bordeaux the soils are we categorised into warm and cold

 

Warm soils - Gravel and Sand

Gravel and sand is warmed by the sun, the soil radiates heat back into the vine canopy and help to ripen the grapes by keeping temperatures above 10 degrees, the minimum temperature required for photosynthesis. 

 

Gravel soil

Flavour profile - firm tannins and structure 

 

Sandy soil 

Flavour profile - easy drinking soft and fruit forward wine 

 

Cold soils - Clay and Limestone

Soils are dense and retain moisture. They do not contribute to the ripening process

 

Clay (iron rich) 

Flavour profile - prune and walnuts

 

Limestone 

Flavour profile - Pronounced acidity, lean and polished tannins 

Grape Varieties 

 

White varieties

 

Semillon, most widely planted white variety comprises  55% 

Sauvignon Blanc, 34% white plantings

Muscadelle, 7% of white plantings

 

Secondary grapes, 4% of white plantings

Ugni Blanc

Colombard

Merlot Blanc

Folle Blanche

Mauzac

Ondenc

 

The white varieties are NOT site specific 

 

Bordeaux grows the most Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon world wide

 

Red varieties

 

Merlot, most widely red variety, 60% of red planting

 

Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% of red plantings

 

Cabernet Franc, compromises 12% of red plantings

 

Malbec (Cot) - small component of the blend. After the brutal winter freeze in 1956 1/3 of all vines were destroyed and re-planted with Merlot.

 

Petit Verdot - small component of the blend. Global warming has enables the vine to ripen the fruit more consistently 

 

Carmenere - small component of the blend. This variety is susceptible to mildews. 

Wine making  

 

Dry White Wine Production 

 

The world of Bordeaux White wine is changing, previously the white wine was mineral driven.

The copper-sulfate sprays used in Bordeaux to fight against molds and mildews were reacting with aroma pre-cursors and robbing Sauvignon Blanc of it's aromatics. This problem has been effectively eliminated by timing when the vineyards are sprayed, Resulting a Sauvignon Blanc dominate white being more perfumed.  

 

Fermentation - Stainless steel tanks in order to preserve fresh fruit aromas and flavours. 

No oak and no malo-lactic fermentation.

 

The final wine is determined by the proportion of Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc in the glass. 

Semillon - apricot and fig

Sauvignon Blanc - pineapple

 

 

Sweet wine production

 

Grapes used - Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc 

 

Moelleux and semi-sweet wines

Hand picked - not mandatory 

Grapes are harvested along with the ones affected by botrytis 

Residual sugar - 1.2-4.5% 

 

Liqoureux or sweet wines

Hand picked - mandatory, berry by berry through multiple passes in the vineyard. Only grapes affected by noble rot are picked. 

The mold that causes noble rot takes time to spread through the vineyard

Harvest takes 6-8weeks mid-September to November, picking grapes as the mold spread through out the vineyard. 

1 vine of botrytised grapes = 1-3 glasses of wine

Residual sugar - min 4.5%

 

Barrel age - some producers only. The wine are generally more expensive and prestigious. This is because the price of a barrel is approximately $900 and some producers replace the barrel every year. 

 

The grapes affected by noble rot impart a honeyed character

The final wine is determined by the proportion of Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc in the glass. 

Semillon - apricot and fig

Sauvignon Blanc - pineapple

The cool Bordeaux climate ensures ample acidity in the finished wine to balance the high sugar levels. 

 

 

Red wine production 

 

Grapes are harvested and fermented separately

Grapes from young and old vines are fermented separately.

 

Maceration of juice and skins, 15-21 days or longer.

This process extracts tannin,pigment and flavour compounds from the skins. 

 

Length of maceration depends on the quality of the grapes, ripeness level and wine style. When a wine is being built to age the Maceration process will be longer in order to impart more tannins (tannin is essential in order to age red wine)

 

Extended Maceration concentrates flavour and is only worth doing in good vintages. Sometimes the extra flavour is not worn extracting. 

 

Fermentation, 8-10 days 

 

2nd Fermentation, Malo-lactic fermentation.

The harsh malo acids are converted to soft lactic acids. 

 

Crafting the blend 

The blending process takes many months.

Wine is stored in barrels or barriques (225L), storing the wine in barrels adds wood tannins to the wine, the newer the barrels the more tannins are imparted.

 

Maturation in oak not only contributes tannins but also aromas

aromas - vanilla, caramel, toast, and coffee notes are present in the finished wine adding complexity

 

Many Chateaus (wine houses) produce more then 1 product. 

Grand Vin - best barrels 

Second and third labels - is made from younger vines and placed in lesser quality barrels and cellared for less time. Resulting in a more delicate wine with less structure and ready for immediate consumption.

 

Bordeaux Reds, most common flavour profile 

less fruit-driven

less alcohol

less overt oak flavours compared to New world reds. 

Flavours - cigar box, walnut, tea 

 

Rose and Clairet Wine Production 

 

2 lighter styles of red wine are produced in Bordeaux. 

 

Rose - Pink, blush colour 

Clairet - Semi-red colour 

 

Clairet

Same winemaking method as tradtional red winemaking with a few exceptions 

shorter maceration period 24-36 hours compared to 15-21 days 

Saignee method is used to produce a less pigmented red wine but darked than Rose 

 

Rose 

Saignee method is most common 

Maceration is even shorter then Clairet to produce a ligther style red wine

 

Removal of pink or semi-red juice is done by "bleeding the tank" (empting the tank)

increasing the skin-to-juice ratio in the vat.

 

The juice that is removed from the tank is bottled for Rose and Clairet wine which are produced for early consumption. 

The remaining juice in the tank will be more concentrated due to removing juice and be used for production of red wine. 

 

Using this technique gives the producers  2 different wines from 1 vat of grapes

 

 

Cremant Wine Production

 

Bordeaux has been producing Sparkling wine for over 100 years

1990 - received AOC status 

Method Tradtionnelle

Cremant can be White or Rose

Sweetness level ranges from Extra Brut - Doux 

 

White Cremant 

Sauvignon Blanc

Semillon

Muscadelle

Ugni Blanc 

Colombard 

any Bordeaux red grapes vinified as white 

 

Rose Cremant 

Cabernet Sauvignon

Merlot

Cabernet France 

Malbec

Petit Verdot

Carmenere 

 

min 9 months Sur Lie aging for all Cremants 

 

 

 

Sub Regions 

 

Bordeaux can be divided into 3 sections. Left bank, Right Bank and Entre-Deux-Mers.

 

Left Bank 

Covers the area from the Medoc peninsula to Graves. The land is flat.

Soil - gravels (warm soils)

Wine Style - Cabernet Sauvignon based, more firmly structured with significant amounts of tannin.

Aromas - cassis, graphite, tobacco, cedar and sweet herb

 

Right Bank 

Landscape of small hills with low-lying land and deep valleys

Soil - clay and limestone (cold soils)

Wine Style - Merlot and Cabernet Franc based.

Flavour profile - soft plum fruit, limestone creates silky tannins and high acidity. Iron rich clays will add prune and walnut. 

 

Entre-Deux-Mers

vineyard area inbetween Garonne and Dordogne rivers 

Highest elevations in Bordeaux. 

All of the Bordeaux soil types are found here.

Red wine - Can be Merolt of Cabernet Sauvignon based 

White wine - Sauvignon Blanc based

Number 25 on the map is Entre-Deux-Mers 

Appellations 

 

All wine in Bordeaux is of AOC status. 

 

AOC regulates the

  • zone of production

  • grape varieties  

  • final product in the glass

  • alcohol levels winemaking techniques

  • viticulture practises

  • label

  • planting density

  • pruning technique

  • yields

  • harvest dates

 

All wine produced in Bordeaux undergoes a yearly chemical annalysis and blind tasting to verify typicity of the wine. 

 

All Bordeaux produces may label their wines under the AOC regional catagory

Bordeaux AOC

Bordeaux Superieur AOC

 

If the producer will always opt to use a smaller zone of production if possible

 

Bordeaux Superieur AOC has stricter production standards then Bordeaux AOC

  • smaller maximum yields

  • higher alcohol levels 

  • min aging for Red wine, min 9 months 

  • white wine must be either semi-sweet or moelleux

  • NO dry white Bordeaux Superieur AOC

 

Types of Appellations 

REGIONAL AOC  

 

  • Bordeaux

  • Bordeaux Superieur

  • Bordeaux Clairet

  • Bordeaux Rose 

 

 

 

 

SUB-REGIONAL AOC 

 

  • Medoc

  • Haut-Medoc

  • Entre-Deux-Mers

  • Bordeaux Haut-Benauge

  • Cotes de Bordeaux Saint Macaire 

  • Cotes de Blaye 

 

 

 

COMMUNAL AOC 

 

  • Margaux

  • St Estephe 

  • Pessac-Leognan

  • Barsac

  • Sauternes 

  • Saint Emilion

  • Pomerol

  • Fronsac

Left Bank Appellations 

The Medoc 

 

Left bank red wine is Cabernet Sauvignon dominant.

 

8 AOC comprise the Medoc 

 

Some of the worlds most expensive wine comes form this sub-region. 

 

The First growths of Bordeaux also known as Premier Grand Cru 

Chateau Lafite Rothschild - Medoc, Pauliiac

Chateau Margaux - Medoc, Margaux 

Chateau Latour - Medoc, Paulliac 

Chateau Haut-Brion - Medoc, Graves, Pessac-Leognan

Chateau Mouton-Rothschild -Medoc, Paulliac (promoted from 2nd growth to 1st in 1973. 

 

 

The Medoc AOC + Haut Medoc AOC  cover a large area of the west peninsula. 

Soil - small gravel soils.

 

4 communal AOC flank the east side of the peninusla on the Gironde river.

Soil - large gravel soils. 

 

 

St. Estephe AOC 

Producers today have increased the amount on Merlot in the blend to produce a more drinkable wine. Previously the wines were extremely structured with tough tannins that require many years in bottle to soften. 

 

 

Pauillac AOC

Produces wine that is structured and powerful. 

The wine is well known for its core of dusty cocoa-like tannins 

 

 

St. Julien AOC

Known to be the most New World and Californian like out of all the Medoc communes. 

Flavour profile - chocolate covered cherry fruit

 

 

Margaux AOC

Known to be the most feminine and perfumed out of all the Medoc communes. 

 

 

2 communal AOC are located further inland in the center of the peninsula 

 

Moulis en Medoc AOC

Located in the middle of Margaux and St. Julien. 

Soil - 3 types of soil

  • small Pyrenees gravel

  • large Garonnais gravel

  • clay/limestone mix 

 

 

Listrac-Medoc AOC 

Located on the highest point of elevation on the Medoc peninsula, 43meters above sea level. 

Soil - 3 types of soil 

  • small Pyrenne gravel

  • large Garonnais gravel

  • clay/limestone mix

 

 

Graves and Sauternais

 

Graves and the sub region Sauteranais is made up of 6 AOCs

2 Sub-regional AOCs and 4 Communal AOCs

 

Graves 

 

The first vineyards in Bordeaux were planted in Graves

Production

2/3 Red wine - Cabernet Sauvignon baseed

1/3 White wine, dry and sweet style - Sauvignon Blanc based

Soil - gravel

 

Graves AOC (Regional)

Dry Red and White wine

 

Graves Superieures AOC (Regional)

Semi-sweet White wine

 

Pessac-Leognan AOC (Communal)

Recieved status in 1987, previously apart of Graves.

Located in the northernmost part of Graves

Wine style - Cabernet Sauvignon based reds with a unique clove characteristic 

Soil - deep gravel 

 

 

Sauternais

 

Within the sub region are the 3 commuanl AOCs for sweet wine

Located in the southernmost part of Graves 

 

  • Cerons AOC

  • Barsac AOC

  • Sauternes AOC

 

 Soil - very poor and can only grow vines and trees 

Their macro-climate enables the growth of botrytis cinerea

Morning - wet due to fog created by the Ciron River

Afternoon - warm and dry

These are the ideal condtions which promote the botrytis cinerea to spread

 

 

 

 

 

 

Entre-Deux-Mers

 

Soil

Alluvial deposits flank the rivers 

Slopes, some are gravel

Plains, clay and sand, clay and limestone 

 

Alluvial-  the deposit of sediment over a long period of time by one or more rivers.

 

During 1950s and 1960s this sub-region was a major producer of white wine.

Today red wine production dominates 

 

White wine - Sauvignon Blanc dominant 

Red wine - Merlot and Cabernets

Semi sweet and sweet wine - Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon  

 

There are serval different AOCs within Entre-Deux-Mers 

 

All red wine outside of the following AOCs can be labelled under the regional Bordeaux AOC or Bordeaux Superieur AOC 

  • Saint-Foy

  • Graves de Vayres

  • Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux

 

Moelleux (semi-sweet) late harvest grapes and may include grapes affected by boytris.

 

Liquoreux (sweet) ONLY botrytised grapes

The Libournais - Right Bank

 

Red wine - Merlot dominant with Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon is added to the blend if the soil is compatible. 

 

The Libournais is comprised of 10 AOCs  the last 4 are St Emillon Satellites 

 

  • Fronsac AOC  

  • Canon-Fronsac AOC 

  • Pomerol AOC  

  • Lalande de Pomerol AOC  

  • Saint-Emilion AOC 

  • Saint-Emilion Grand Cru AOC

  • Saint-Georges-Saint-Emilion 

  • Lusac-Saint-Emilion AOC 

  • Montagne-Saint-Emilion AOC 

  • Puissguin-Saint-Emilion AOC

 

 

Satellites - located North and North East of the St Emilion AOC 

 

 

Fronsac AOC and Canon Fronsac AOC 

Located - separated from the rest of sub region by the Isle River

Soil - Clay and limestone 

Grapes - Merlot and Cabernet Franc with traditional blending partners 

Flavour profile - red fruits, black pepper

 

 

Pomerol AOC and Lalande-de-Pomerol AOC 

Soil - iron rich clays - creates heavy aromas and textures 

Flavour profile - walnut, truffle, prune and textured mouth feel.   

Pomerol AOC produced wine that is more structured and aromatic displaying red berry fruits strawberry and raspberry. 

 

 

St-Emilion and St-Emilion Grand Cru AOCs 

2 AOCs cover the same area of production

Grand Cru AOC - stricter production standards 

  • Lower yield 

  • Higher min alcohol 

  • Bottled at Chateau 

  • 2 tasting panel approvals 

  • Min 1 year aging 

 

Soil- limestone and clay 

Along the river - plots of sand 

The soil type (iron-rich clays) from Pomerol appears in St-Emilion

2 Chateau's are located on the iron-rich clay

  • Chateau Figeac

  • Chateau Cheval Blanc 

Different soils produces different styles of wine

Limestone - high acid and polished tannins 

Sand - fruit forward 

Iron-rich clay - flavour profile of Pomerol wine 

 

 

4 St-Emilion satellites 

Similar flavours of St Emilion except more delicate structure.

 

Saint-Georges-Saint-Emilion AOC

Lussac-Saint-Emilion AOC 

Montagne-Saint-Emilion AOC 

Puisseguin-Saint-Emilion AOC

The Cotes

 

8 AOCs

Cotes is French for the English word slope.

Vineyards are located on the slopes near the rivers.

6 of the AOC  vineyards are located are on right bank and are west facing 

Soil- limestones and clay

 

2 Côte AOCs are located in the Entre-Deux-Mers sub region

 

Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux AOC 

Wine style - Red, Semi-sweet to Sweet and White wine

Northern vineyards - Cabernet Sauvignon planted on gravel, Merlot is heavily planted 

Southern vineyards - White wine - dry/semi-sweet/sweet from Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle. 

 

 

Cotes de Bordeaux-Saint-Macaire AOC 

Wine style - Dry, Semi-sweet and Sweet White wine

Soil - limestone, clay-limestone

Grapes - Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle

 

6 AOCs are located on the right banks of the Gironde Estuary and the Dordogne River. 

 

 

Cotes de Bourg AOC 

Wine style - Red and Dry White

Grapes - Merlot dominates here, almost 80% of acreage. This is because of the soil type found here.

Soil - Clay soils 

Flavour profile - tannic, jammy, dark berry fruit, forest floor. Are able to improve in bottle for 5-10 years. 

 

 

Blaye AOC 

Wine style - Red and Dry White

This AOC is very close to Cognac 

Ugni Blanc represents 90% of the white blend.

Blending partners - Colombard, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle, Chenin 

Soil - mixed, sand, gravel, clay, limestone

Merlot dominates the red varieties 

 

 

Cotes de Blaye AOC 

Wine style - Dry White 

The blend must be 60-90% Colombard

Blending partners - Sauvignon, Semillon, Muscadelle 

 

 

Premieres Cotes de Blaye AOC 

Wine style - Red and Dry White 

This AOC is located close of Cognac

White wine Ugni Blanc and Colombard 

Red - Cabernet Sauvignon on gravel soils 

 

 

Cotes de Castillon AOC 

Wine style - Red

Merlot dominates 70-80% of acreage is planted on Clay soils 

Flavour profile - rounded wine with red berry fruits, strawberries and raspberries

 

 

Bordeaux-Cotes de Francs AOC 

Wine style - Red, Dry and Semi-sweet Whites

Soil - limestone

Grapes - Cabernet Franc is widely planted due to the soil 

Flavour profile- sweet herb, red berry fruits, forest floor 

 

 

The following AOC can now label their wine Cotes de Bordeaux 

  • Premieres Cotes de Blaye AOC 

  • Cotes de Castillon AOC 

  • Cotes de Francs AOC 

  • Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux AOC 

 

This new AOC Cotes de Bordeaux was created as a marketing tool.

 

The 4 AOCs mentioned above can append their sub-regional designations to the label.

  • Cotes de Bordeaux Blaye AOC 

  • Cotes de Bordeaux Castillon AOC 

  • Cotes de Bordeaux Francs AOC 

  • Cotes de Bordeaux Cadillac AOC 

Bordeaux Classification Systems 

 

 

 

Classification of 1855 

 

Medoc and Sauternes 

 

In 1855 a list was created that included the top Chateau's on the left bank of the Bordeaux and the right bank Sauternes. 

 

The list was created as a reference of the wine prices of the top Bordeaux wines in the 19th century and was not intended to be a classification system. 

 

Paris 1855 - The Universal Exhibition

The event is held in order to display new industry and technology. To highlight The strengths and culture of France wine was added to the event. 

Wine was displayed from Chateaux's who donated. 

There were 6 bottles 

They were labeled with the following information 

Estate, commune, region, vintage 

The display was not eye catching, to add a bit of glam a map of the region was placed next to the well along with a sign saying "classification of 1855"

From now on the sale of Bordeaux wines was separated between the "it" wine and the not so famed wine. 

 

The classification system included 

87 Chateaux 

 

1 - chateaux from Pessac-Leognan

26 - chateaux from Sauternes and Barsac

60 - chateaux from The Medoc

 

Red Wine 

producers were ranked in 1 of 5 categories, 1st being the best

  • 1st growth

  • 2nd growth

  • 3rd growth

  • 4th growth

  • 5th growt

 

The First growths of Bordeaux also known as Premier Grand Cru 

 

  • Chateaux Lafite Rothschild - Medoc, Pauliiac

  • Chateaux Margaux - Medoc, Margaux 

  • Chateaux Latour - Medoc, Paulliac 

  • Chateaux Haut-Brion -Pessac-Leognan

  • Chateaux Mouton-Rothschild -Medoc, Paulliac (promoted from 2nd growth to 1st in 1973. 

 

 

Sweet wine

 

3 categories 

  • Premier Cru Superieur 

  • Premier Cru

  • Deuxime Cru "Second Cru"

 

In 1855 Chateau d'Yquem was the most expensive sweet wine of Bordeaux and  for that reason it was given the status Premier Cru Superieur.

It is the only sweet wine under this category of Premier Cru Superieur

 

 

 

 

The Cru Bourgeois 

 

Not a classification system although was intended to be.

 

1932

a list of 444 domains was presented by the Bordeaux wine traders to the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce and Chamber of Agriculture. 

The domains that were selected were labeled as Cru Bourgeois to recognise their quality. The list of 444 domains was never official 

 

2003

Medoc producers petitioned for a new Cru Bourgeois Classification which included 247 estates.

 

2007

the classification system reverted back to the unofficial 1932 list. 

The 2003 list excluded domains and producers petitioned. 

 

Today there are 270 domains in the Cru Bourgeois are represented by a member organisation- The Alliance des Crus Bourgeois. 

To be represented producers need to adhere to certain grape growing and wine making practises above the AOC regulations. 

 

The Cru Burgeois 

can be labelled as Petit Chateau - not an official term in France 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crus Artisans 

 

New classification - 2006

  • Quality Boutique wineries 

  • Small estates 1-5 hectare 

  • The complete production process happen at he estate (barrel to bottle) 

  • 44 Cru Artisans 

 

 

 

 

Graves Classification 

 

All estates are located in the same production area as the Pessac-Leognan AOC 

Bottles may be labelled the following

Grand Cru Classe de Graves

Cru Classe de Graves 

 

Established 1955, revised in 1959

16 properties are ranked

 

6 estates - Red and White

3 estates - White only

7 estates - Red only

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. Emilion 

 

 

Established 1955, meant to be revised every 10 years. The system was revised in 2006. However it was not until 2008 they declared the 2006 ranking invalid.

 

Only right bank Classification system 

 

Saint Emilion 1996 Classification 

 

68 properties were ranked 

2 Premiers Grands Crus Classes A level

  • Chateaux Ausone 

  • Cheval Blanc 

  •  

11 Premiers Grands Crus Classes B level 

55 Grands Crus Classes 

 

Saint Emilion 2006 

 

61 properties were ranked 

2 Premiers Grands Crus Classes A level

  • Chateaux Ausone 

  • Cheval Blanc 

13 Premiers Grands Crus Classes B level 

46 Grands Crus Classes 

 

In 2006 2 Grand Cru Classes were moved up to Premiers Grands Crus Classes B level status

even though the 2006 revision was decleared invalid the estates were able to keep their status 

 

Saint Emilion 2009   = -1996+2006 rankings 

 

74 properties were ranked 

4  Premiers Grands Crus Classes A level

  • Chateaux Ausone 

  • Cheval Blanc 

  • Château Angélus

  • Château Pavie

     

14 Premiers Grands Crus Classes B level 

64 Grands Crus Classes 

 

Future grading of estates will be based on the following, 

50% - Condtion of the winery, equipment in the winery

How the estate stands in the market place 

50% wine quality 

 

 

NOTE: For a wine to achieve the status Grand Cru Classes it must already be a Grand Cru. 

St Emilion Grand Cru Classe AOC holds a higher status than St Emilion Grand Cru 

 

 

 

Classification System Overview

Premier 

Cru

Superieur

Premier Cru

 

Deuxime Cru

 

 

Premiers

Grands

Crus Classes 

A level

14 

Premiers Grands

Crus Classes

B level

 

96 -  Grands Crus Classe

 

 

  Grand Cru

 

 
 
 
 
 

Bordeaux wine trade

 

75% of Wine is sold through 400 wine traders that import wine to over 150 countries 

 

Many Bordeaux wines are sold en primeur

 

En primeur - wine is pre-sold. When the wine is purchased it is still in barrel. 

The en primeur price is significantly lower then the final release price. 

 

When to drink

Petits Chateaux (Cru Bourgeois), wine from the Cotes 

Best drinking age 5-7 years

 

Classified growths 

Hold for 10 years 

 

Clairet, Rose, White, semi-sweet 

Immediate consumption 

 

Sweet wines 

In great vintages they can age up to 100years

 
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