It’s not all grand chateaux and dusty bottles that need 30 years cellar age. This historical region, which has been making wine for centuries, knows what it’s doing and does it well. Some wines are age-worthy collectibles, but the majority are meant to be drunk now and enjoyed with food. Here are some fun facts you may not have known about Bordeaux.-The region is made up of 57 separate appellations, or AOCs. -Bordeaux represents 2.3% of total world wine production-In 2007, the region produced nearly 760 million bottles of wine. That is a LOT of wine.–Carmenere, the grape now associated with Chilean red wines, was once a common blending grape in Bordeaux. It grew out of fashion in the mid-20th century and is now almost extinct. -“Cot” is the local name for Malbec, a grape that is waning in importance in the region.-A half-bottle of Bordeaux is called a “fillette.”-The 1855 classification stands exactly as it did in 1855, with one exception – Chateau Mouton Rothschild moved from a Deuxieme Cru (second growth) to a Premier Cru (first growth) in 1973.Get all the facts you ever wanted to know about Bordeaux at www.bordeaux.com. And don’t forget to browse our updated affordable Bordeaux section at Wine.com. Especially our Club Claret line up.
For our second installment on Bordeaux week, I want to talk about the regions that are producing those “affordable” Bordeaux wines that we are so excited about.Bordeaux AOC– Yep, this is an appellation itself (for red wines only) and if a wine is labeled under the appellation“Bordeaux,” the grapes can come from anywhere in the region and most likely are sourced from multiple areas. These wines are often Merlot-based and very approachable. In a good vintage the Bordeaux AOC wines are great values. You may also see the AOC Bordeaux Supérieur. One step up from the Bordeaux AOC, these red wines can be more complex and will last a few years in your cellar (if you choose to keep them!). Médoc and Haut Médoc – another more general appellation, this area is on the left bank, which means the wines are going to be made from a blend based on Cabernet Sauvignon. Home to more prestigious appellations like Margaux and Pauillac, wines labeled Médoc or Haut-Medoc can be similar in quality, but lower in price. Depending on the producer, of course. Haut-Médoc is typically a higher quality level of wine than the Médoc, but not always. Since these wines are based on Cabernet Sauvignon, they can be tannic and structured, so are great accompaniments to appropriate food – like meat! Côtes de Castillon – One of my favorites, this region is on the right bank of Bordeaux, so Merlot is the dominate grape. Created in 1989, it is an excellent example of wine to drink now. Fruit-forward, with ripe, supple tannins and great length. These are structured and expressive wines, but very approachable when young. This is a great wine to try if you are just introducing yourself to Bordeaux. Please share some of your favorite regions and wines from Bordeaux.
These two words are not mutually exclusive! Though hype surrounding big vintages and the high prices you see at auctions can make it seem like that is the case. But with 57 appellations and over 9,000 wineries, there is a wide range of styles and prices in Bordeaux – something for everyone!Bordeaux has been making wine for centuries – almost 200 of them! – and it is a region rich in history. Recently tasting some of these more affordable Bordeaux, one thing is clear – Bordeaux today is not just for your parents’ cellar. It’s a delightful and delicious wine perfect for dinners – particularly this season. This week we’ll be blogging all about Bordeaux. Today, some basic facts and tips on navigating the world of Bordeaux. GrapesThe red grapes used in Bordeaux are: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot.
The white grapes are Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, what we call a white Bordeaux blend.AppellationsWhen referring to the red wine of Bordeaux, the region is divided into two parts - the left and right bank. Left Bank: Médoc; Haut Médoc; St.-Estèphe; Pauillac; St.-Julien; Margaux; Graves; Pessac-Léognan (mainly white wines); Sauternes (sweet wines); Barsac (sweet wines) Right Bank: St.-Emilion; Pomerol; Fronsac & Canon Fronsac; Cotes de Bourg & Blaye; Cotes de Castillon Some attributes of each bank:Left Bank: Cabernet Sauvignon-based blends; gravel soils; structured; higher tannins; mature more slowly
Taste profile: Cherry and currant, plus spice and cedar notes with firm texture Right Bank: Merlot and Cabernet Franc-based blends; clay-based soils; wines mature earlier; softer tannins
Taste profile: Soft, fragrant plum and berry fruit flavors with supple texture This little post here just touches the surface of Bordeaux. If you want to delve into the history and appellations of this complex region, I cannot more highly recommend www.bordeaux.com. This site is easy to read and has just about EVERYTHING you want to know about Bordeaux. Meanwhile, shop our expanded selection of affordable Bordeaux and get 1 cent shipping on these wines all week! Stay tuned tomorrow when I highlight the the regions from where values are emerging.