The Wines of Bordeaux

Bordeaux: potentially essentially the most well-known and widely recognised wine region on this planet but not precisely at the height of fashion at present. Bordeaux itself is a port-town sitting on the river Garonne leading to the Gironde estuary on the west coast of France; a key to its huge commercial success. It is France’s largest produce of AOC high quality wine, with over 112,000 hectares planted with vines and almost a quarter of all quality wine in France is produced here. Not only that, however a lot of France’s most prolific wines and producers hail from this cool, wet a part of the country with costs for the first growth wines stretching into the stratosphere, particularly because the 2009 and 2010 vintages when Asia first ventured into the fine wine market in force. Nevertheless, all the glamour and wealth from the top estates paints a false image; the top Chateau make up a paltry 5% of total production. The remaining is shared between an more and more impoverished and struggling group of producers, numbering over 7000 on the last count. In consequence, the market of Bordeaux is especially difficult with a youthful generation of wine drinkers unable to purchase the highest wines and the vast majority of producers struggling to make ends meet in opposition to the new waves of more accessible, New World wines.

The half where Bordeaux gets sophisticated is its many classifications and trade structures; it’s certainly essentially the most closely categorised wine area on the planet with only Pomerol exempt from a rating system of sorts. Probably the most famous of these was the 1855 classification of the Medoc which has largely defined the most famous Chateau in your entire region of Bordeaux. Sauternes and Barsac were classified on the same time separately for candy wine production. Not to be ignored, Graves determined to create their own classification for their Chateau in 1959 and St. Emilion has updated their own classifications as lately as 2012, albeit with some very high profile authorized battles in the process. Small wonder most customers discover Bordeaux to be a tricky area to navigate and this is earlier than getting onto the topic of negociants, en primeur tastings, expanding territories, foreign funding and demanding opinion, with Bordeaux to be a big market for a number of the worlds most highly acclaimed wine writers and wine merchants. Still, there’s merely no higher option to discover a area than by consuming a number of glasses of its wine as we delve into it, and on that note, here are the wines we selected to assist us navigate our approach across the area:

Le Petit Haut-Lafitte Blanc 2013 — The second white wine of Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, Grand Cru Classe wine from Pessac-Leognan; a mix of 80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Semillon. The white wines of Bordeaux, whilst only making up 10% of total production, are considered by many to be the finest white wines in the world. Typically the wines specific a cooler local weather expression of Sauvignon Blanc with plenty of citrus, white stone fruit and gooseberry aromas with a softer, more floral aroma relying on the level of Semillon and/or Muscadelle. These wines are often oaked and in the case of Le Petit Haut-Lafitte Blanc, for 10 months in 50% new oak with constant lees stirring. There’s a wonderful balance of toasty oak, crisp acidity and fresh fruit flavours with a wonderfully complete texture. Scrumptious stuff!

Chateau Fourcas Dupre 2010 — Now we head to the Listrac-Medoc, one of the lesser appellations of the area and the highest in altitude. Typically on the left-bank of Bordeaux you’ll discover a higher focus of Cabernet Sauvignon, at the most northerly limit of the place it is going to ripen. The important thing here is the well-drained gravel soils that help retain and replicate heat back onto the grapes, giving them the extra enhance they need within the final weeks of the ripening period. Chateau Fourcas Dupre is a good quality producer focusing primarily on red wines, with the Fourcas Dupre being their ‘Grand Vin’, with two different atypical wines with a majority of Merlot in the blend. Nonetheless tightly knit collectively after virtually 7 years of age, this is an outstanding worth-for-money purchase and showcases how good wine from the ‘lesser’ appellations can often be. Recent, structured and full of younger fruit, slowly evolving into the typical graphite and cedar of left bank Bordeaux.

Chateau Haut-Bergey 2010 — Back to Pessac Leognan now for a have a look at a wine with some pedigree; Chateau Haut-Bergey. Purchased in 1991 and renovated heavily by Sylvain Garcin-Cathiard, Haut-Bergey now produces around 50,000 bottles of their high wine every year. A mix of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon and 46% Merlot and aged in 30% new oak for sixteen–18 months, this could be very a lot a modern expression of Pessac-Leognan. The 2010 we drank was only just beginning to show itself, tightly wound and filled with graphite, darkish fruit, toast and licorice. Given time, this will likely be a real magnificence and is really very consultant of a high quality classic, the place wines will typically take a little longer to open up and express themselves. The wait is usually worth it!

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