BORDEAUX 

Famed for its big red wines and lusciously sweet white. Bordeaux is a big player in the world of fine wine crafting age worthy wine from Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. By volume Bordeaux produces the most AOC wine in France, most premium Bordeaux is sold "En primeur" meaning the wine is still in the barrel, this allows cash flow for the winery.

 

Elements to Cover 

  • History

  • Regional locations

  • Microclimates

  • Soils

  • Grapes Varieties

  • Viticulture

  • Vinification

  • Maturation and Finishing

  • Vintage Variations

  •  Influences - historical, cultural, political, investors 

  • Trade Structures - General / Quality / Classification systems 

  • Markets - Domestic and globals. Influences on marketing and sales decisions 

HISTORY

  • 300AD - little important until 1152 when Bordeaux became under British rule. 

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

  • 1152 (1st Golden Age) -  Marriage Duchess Elanor of Aquitaine to Henry Count of Anjou. Henry ended up becoming Henry II of England and Duke of Normandy. 

  • England has control of areas within Southwest France

  • Wines of Gascony were given privileges, tax exemption for exports. In UK they become more affordable and fashionable.

  • Unlike many regions Bordeaux was started by Merchants from French, Dutch, British and German - rather than by clergy (church)

  • 13th and 14th Century - Trade declines and tax increase due to wars between Enlgand and France

  • 17th Century - Left Bank (Margaux, Medoc) was a swamp. The Dutch drained the swamp

  • Late 17th century - Powdery mildew, Phylloxera, Downy mildew  - serious setbacks in the trade development

  • 1855 - Napoleon III hosted a world exposition in Paris and wanted to display some of the best wine at the time. He asked Syndicat of Courtiers, an organisation of wine merchants, to draw up "an exact and complete list of all the red wines of the Gironde that specifies in which class they belong. The ranking was based on the prices fetched by estates in the Medoc, Sauternes and Barsac.

  • 1918- 1930 - slump after World War 2, many Chateaux changed hands

  • 1936 - 57 AOC were established to regulate and classify the wines 

  • 1950s - Mouton began bottling at the chateau after WWII 
    1956 - Deep freeze killed 1/4 of vines in Bordeaux

  • 1953 and 1955 - classification of leading Graves whites and red. St Emillions 

  • 1972 - Mandatory for first class growths to bottle at chateau 

  • 1980s - Great vintage of 1982 and the review given to the wine by Mr Robert Parker. Bordeaux captured the 

  • attention of the wine world. 

  • Economic Book - Huge price increase for the top end Bordeaux while the region continues to produce a huge lake

  • of low quality wine that is un-saleable. 

  • TODAY Increasing competition from New World Regions in international markets 

  • Slow move towards branding, marketing strategies, new stainless steel winery equipment, high quality approachable wines in youth.

LOCATION

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