Founded on April 17, 1948 by a group of key personalities among the merchants and growers, the Académie du Vin de Bordeaux (Bordeaux Wine Academy) is uniquely qualified to preserve and promote the spirit, history, and culture of Bordeaux wine in France and abroad. The cultivation of the vine in Bordeaux has not only produced wines which are universally recognized, but has also profoundly shaped the lifestyle of the Gironde. The result is a particular form of humanism, a spirit, an ethic, and a striving for perfection that can be felt the world over.
Like the prestigious Académie Française in Paris, the Bordeaux Academy—the most prestigious representative of Bordeaux wines has forty members. Among these are the owners of the most celebrated crus in Bordeaux, but there are also two members of the Académie Française, writers, artists, scholars, and university professors.
Château Bélair has always been classified among the best of Saint-Emilion’s First Growths, and its origins are ancient. During the period of Bordeaux’s allegiance to the British crown, the property belonged to Robert de Knolles, the great seneschal and governor of Guyenne, who owned a considerable amount of land in the region. This worthy captain, who fought in the Battle of the Thirty in 1351, also took part in the battles of Avray and Navarette; this is where he received his insignia of honor when he was awarded Bertrand Du Guesclin’s sword. When Charles VII won back Guyenne, the descendants of Robert de Knolles remained on his land. They made their name French, changing it to Canolle, and kept the property until the French Revolution.
Always the territory of powerful men, Beychevelle boasts a long and rich history. During the Middle Ages, when it was owned by the counts of Foix-Candale, the wine was shipped from the port at the bottom of the garden. Bishop François de Foix-Candale had a first château built in 1565. He was followed by Jean-Louis de Nogaret de la Valette, first Due d’Épernon and Admiral of France, his son Bernard who added the central portion of the château in 1644, then Henri de Foix-Candale. In the eighteenth century, the property belonged successively to Jean-Baptiste d’Abadie, President of the Bordeaux parliament; to the Brassier family who partially rebuilt the château, giving the building its present form; and to the ship-owner Jacques Conte.
The village of Francs, for which this Bordeaux AOC is named, is located near the border of the Dordogne region. Its origins go back to the sixth century. In 507, after the Battle of Vouillé, Clovis I, King of the Francs, fought Alaric II, King of the Visigoths, and conquered the region of Aquitaine. A detachment of the Frankish army set up camp on the site of the village, which was named "Ad Francos" and later Francs.
As in neighboring regions from Bordeaux, vines have been planted here since ancient times. Far from major highways, the region is calm and pleasant. Its hills, often capped with ruins of windmills and dovecots, are covered in vines; in the lower part of the valley are meadows and farmland.
The Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur AOCs are the largest of the French AOCs in terms of both surface area and volume: more than 50,000 hectares (44 percent of the region’s vineyards) produce more than three million hectoliters annually. Their surface area is equal to the total surface area of all the other appellations in the region.
The only way to describe these wines is to speak of the diversity of the terroirs (soil and conditions) cov-ered by the title. The vast range of terroirs is united by the vision and passion of the men who grow the grapes and make the wine.
To describe a Bordeaux AOC wine fully, you would need to speak of each of the two thousand vineyards covered by the label. Red Bordeaux wines are easy to drink: they can be supple, fruity, or rich, depending on the vintage.
In terms of producing fine wines Bordeaux is the largest and most important region of France for the best French wine. Throughout its long history Bordeaux has had connections with England, and during a 300-year spell from 1152, was under English rule.
Bordeaux lies on the rivers Garonne and dordogne, which join to become the Gironde, before flowing into the Atlantic. The climate, influenced by the sea and rivers, is mild, slightly humid and summers tend to be long and warm.
The soil in Bordeaux is generally gravel, clay or sand and limestone. Gravel’s warm and well-draining properties suit Cabernet Sauvignon, and can be found in the Haut-Médoc, while the clay and limestone soil of St Émilion and Pomerol is preferable for Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The Petit Verdot grape adds ‘seasoning’ to the wines of theMédoc and Graves (Left Bank), while Malbec contributes colour and fruitiness in both Left Bank and Right Bank wines, such as those from the Côtes de Bourg. These grape varieties are blended together in varying percentages from château to château, to make Bordeaux red wines.
The white French wines of Bordeaux are made from three main varieties of grape: Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle, with some Colombard and Ugni Blanc being incorporated into the lesser wines. Sémillon’s lemon characteristics and relatively high alcohol content make it a popular choice for both dry ans sweet dessert wies. Lowish in acidity, it’s often blended with the early ripening Sauvignon, which is lively both in aromatics and acidity. Muscadelle adds a certain peachy, musky, and floral quality. Bordeaux also produces Rosé and Claret for the best French wine.
Bordeaux’s most famous red wines are the classified first growths, Cru Classé of the Médoc, such as Château Latour, and the Merlot-dominated wines of St Émilion and Pomerol, such as Château Cheval-Blanc and Château Petrus. Outstanding dry whites include Château Carbonnieux, but it is the sweet wines of Sauternes, which are proably better known, such as the first growth of Château d’Yquem.
Shopping for French wine can be quite a challenge, as there is often an immense range to choose from. Sometimes a little planning will be in your favour. Just knowing the type or style of a French wine you want will make your buying decision that much easier.
The Gironde, in south west France, is the country’s largest Departement, and the home of Bordeaux wines, including claret, Britain’s favorite French wine for centuries. But while all claret is Bordeaux, not all Bordeaux is claret.
Bordeaux is the largest region of fine wine production – red, white and dessert – in the world. The vines cover more than 500 square miles, split almost evenly between red and white grapes, and most of the wines have AC status. The vineyards run from the west bank of the Gironde estuary southwards to below the river Garonne.
Bordeaux is the region in perfect viticultural situation almost and is located in France’s west coast. This wine region benefits from ultimate marketing tool that is achateau-dependent classification system, established nearly 150 years back.
This new era seems to be simply taxing for reputation of Bordeaux as the last 20th century decade was. Rain drenched harvesting towards the ending of 1990s challenged claim of Bordeaux to be an ultimate viticultural paradise but its depressingly poor quality generic wines brought in almost much bad publicity just like grossly inflated rates of modest vintages from top chateaux. In few initial years of 21st century, weather may have improved but the generic Bordeaux quality remained abysmal, rates continued rising that too in direct relation to sales drop and finally something unimaginable took place: Robert Parker, the renowned United States wine critic failed to come for primer tastings in 2003 March.
The origins of Bordeaux wines are unquestionably Roman. Archeological digs conducted in recent years have shown that vineyards existed in Bordeaux before 40 B.C. There is no doubt today that Bordeaux wine has entered its third millennium. Wine lovers, as they read on seven-wines.com, will soon realize that the history of Bordeaux wines is inseparable from those of its appellations and crus (growths). There is not one history, but many individual stories. The cultivation of vines in Bordeaux has spawned much more than the wine itself, and any brief summary is necessarily inadequate.
During its history Bordeaux has produced about fifty appellations and the region still boasts some seven thousand crus. Both a handicap and a blessing, this great diversity needs some selection and explanation before it can be understood by Bordeaux wine enthusiasts and buyers.
Brokers' perfect knowledge of the region allow them to act as go-betweens for the grower and merchant. They advise buyers and sellers and make sure that there are no disputes between them; they never do a deal for themselves.
Cadillac is a very ancient town; part of it is still enclosed by the ruins of a wall erected in 1280 by Jean de Grailly, Mayor of Buch. The town contains the chateau of the Dues d'Épernon, built between 1600 and 1650. Created in 1973, the Cadillac AOC has undergone dramatic changes. It is classified for its sweet white wines, which must come from over-ripe grapes affected by noble rot that have been picked in a series of selective harvests.
The Term de Fronsac, at the highest point of this area, has been inhabited for many centuries. Under Charlemagne, an impressive fortress was built, which long protected the locals from barbarian invasions.
Henry IV made Fronsac the centre of his dukedom. On the ruins of the fortress, which was destroyed in 1623, the Duke of Richelieu-who was also Duke of Fronsac-built a charming Italian folly, where elegant, witty parties were held. As a result of these, many of the country's most important figures came to think highly of Fronsac's wines.
Because of their particularly favorable locations, their terrou", and a microclimate extremely well suited to wine-growing, six towns (Fronsac, La Riviere, Saint-Cermain-la-Riviere, Saint-Michel-de-Fronsac, Sainr-Aignan, and Saillans) plus some parts of Galgon benefit from the specific Fronsac AOC.
Among all Bordeaux classifications existing, it is the 1855 classification that’s meant when someone refers to Classification. It had been commissioned by Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce that was needed by the government of Second Empire for presenting selection of their wines at 1855 Exposition Universelle in Paris. Because of their own requirements, Bordeaux Stock Exchange brokers traditionally categorized most popular Bordeaux properties based on the prices they fetched, hence they had been charged by the Chamber of Commerce for submitting the entire list of the classified red Bordeaux wines along with great white wines.
Dating from the very beginning of the seventeenth century, as the date carved above the fireplace prove, this property can rightly be proud of its rich and very long history. In the middle of the domain is an old well, which still resounds with voices and peals of laughter. If you listen carefully, it tells of the joys and sorrows of pilgrims on their way to Saint James of Compostela who, from the tenth to the fifteenth centuries, stopped here to quench their thirst.
These days the waters are just as pure, but their level is a little lower. This is because the property's owner, like Jesus at the wedding at Cana, contemplated the vineyard's potential and used his powers to change water into wine. Like the pilgrims of the Middle Ages, the vine stocks soak up strength, vigor, and sap from this generous terroir.But, if nature allows us to work miracles, it does require our assistance!
Conscious that sparkling AOC Bordeaux wines produced according to traditional methods are original and unique, winemakers and professionals in Bordeaux decided to apply rigorous rules to the making of these wines.
Thus was born the Crémant de Bordeaux AOC in 1990. These sparkling wines are fine and perfumed, very pleasant as an aperitif, to round off a meal, or even with food. Made with white Bordeaux that meers the AOC requirements, and sometimes with the must of red grapes used to make white wines, Crémants have less of a reputation than other sparkling AOC wines that are made in a similar wayrhis is due to the small quantity of Crémant de Bordeaux produced. The term methode champenoise was once
Geographically, Entre-deux-Mers is bordered on the north by the Dordogne, on the south-west by the Garonne, and on the south-east by the administrative border of the Gironde department. Its plateaux and hillsides (where the tip of the department is to be found) are separated by the rivers and streams that crisscross the region.
Entre-deux-Mers is a lovely wine region with a rich and magnificent historical, archeological, and monumental heritage: among its attractions are megalithic sites, mills, dovecots, churches, abbeys, fortified requirements are identical towns, and old villages. Given the size of this wine region, the soil is very varied, ranging from palus, consisting of alluvium, by the river to pure gravel on some hillsides. On the plateaux, the soil is often silicious clay or clay-limestone and can be gravelly.
We leave the left bank of the Garonne and journey on to a triangle of land 'between-the-two-seas', meaning in fact the rivers Garonne and Dordogne. Anyone who has witness a flood of these rivers can understand what is meant by 'Entre-Deux-Mers'. The French wine-growing area of Entre-Deux-Mers is a huge plateau, criss-crossed by countless small valleys and streams that wind their way through the softly undulating hills. It is a fairly large area from which the main output is of the dry white EntreDeux- Mers AC. The other appellations are Cotes de Bordeaux St-Macaire, Ste-Croix-du-Mont, Loupiac, and Cadillac (all of which are sweet liquorous white French wines), Graves de Vayres (red, dry and sweet white), Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux, and Ste-Poy Bordeaux (both red and sweet liquorous whites) In addition to the wines listed above the entire area of Entre-Deux-Mers also produces a great deal of Bordeaux and Bordeaux Superieur (red, rose, dry and sweet white French wines).
France still seth the standards by which most of the world’s finest wines are judged, but ar far as store sales are concerned, australian wines are rapidly moving into pole position.
The French have certainly long been lovers of wine, from the red wine plonk for daily drinking of the vin ordinaire to the great wines from Bordeaux and Burgungdy. Life without wins is unthinkable to most of the French. Daily enjoyment of wine, with family of friends, or with a meal, is an essential pause in French life. Wine is the soul of the French always managed to save that soul.
In contrast though, pick up almost any international wine list in a restaurant and French wines still dominate. It will be fascinating to see if French wines can fight back over the next decade.
The system of Appellations d’origine Contrôlées (AC) used in France – which defines the region in which a wine’s grapes are grown, the varieties used, and the manner of production – may have its restrictions but it is still the first piece of information many people look for on a label. Vin de Pays, the lowest category of France wine, does not follow strict AC rules, but today it can hold many a pleasant surprise and bargain for the wine lover.
Bordeaux Burgundy Alsace The Rhône The Loire Valley
The area formerly all known as Graves extends from below the village of St-Pierre de Mons to Blanquefort south-west of Bordeaux. It is subdivided into three large wine-growing areas: Graves itself (Graves Rouge, Graves Blanc Sec, Graves Superieures Moelleux and Liquoreux), Pessac-Uognan (Rouge and Blanc Sec) , and the sweet wine enclaves Sauternes, Barsac and Cerons.
The area stretches for about 50 km (31 miles) and comprises 43 different communes. Graves is the only French wine to carry the bedrock or soil of its terroir in its appellation on the label. The name 'Graves' is English. Medoc then was still swampland that was later drained and reclaimed by the Dutch. The name Graves became forever linked to its wines because of the favourable nature of the ground for winemaking.
French wines from Graves contributed to establishing the great name of Bordeaux rather than those of Medoc which only came into being in the second half of the eighteenth century, when they profited from the fame of Graves.
With Graves too what is instantly apparent is the great diversity of different terroirs. Generally the soil consists of terraces of clay and sand with gravel and plenty of boulders. The quality of the soil here ultimately determines the quality of this French wine. The Graves vineyards came under tremendous pressure in the twentieth century. The expansion of the city of Bordeaux caused about 7,000 hectares of land to be lost and this process was exacerbated by the economic crisis that preceded World War II, by that war, and the severe frosts of 1956. The vineyards close to the suburbs of Bordeaux suffered most in these times. For foreigners it is quite surprising to see that top chateaux such as Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion are almost permanently bathed in the smoke from Bordeaux.
In the 3,000 hectares of Graves, 53% red wine and 47% white wine is produced. The better wines (including all the Graves grand crus) have had their own appellation of Pessac-Leognan since 1987. Red wine throughout the area is made using Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon, sometimes supplemented with Malbec and PetitVerdot.
White wine is made using Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle.
Historically the red Graves were the great Bordeaux wines. The vineyards were planted by the Romans and the wine was highly desired by the Roman emperors. The wine became world famous thanks to the English but the French kings were also extremely French for gravel, the ground on which vines best thrived during the occupation of Aquitaine by the fond of the wine. Recognition with an AC was granted in 1937.
Depending on its terroir Graves red can either be light and elegant or full, fatty, fleshy, and full of tannin. The latter type in particular keeps well. A characteristic of the Graves red is the slight smoky undertone in both the bouquet and taste. This taste is derived from the soil. Other characteristic aromas are vanilla, ripe fruit such as strawberry, blackcurrant, orange peel, toast, green pepper (paprika), and a little cinnamon, coffee, cocoa, and humus as the wine matures. Drinking temperature: 16°C (60.8°F).
It is undoubtedly in this area, within and just outside the city of Bordeaux, that the region's winemaking roots run deepest. Graves wines, both red and white, have always increased the reputation of Bordeaux wines around the world. During the Middle Ages they were particularly renowned, and punishments were severe for those who cheated the public by passing off wines from other regions as being from Graves. Under the jurisdiction of Bordeaux, the vineyard at that time completely encircled the city.
Château Guiraud, formerly the Château de Baylè, was classified in 1855. Along with the Château d’Yquem, it is the only First Growth to be located in the Sauternes commune. Until the 1855 classification, the name Guiraud brought to mind a powerful family rather than a wine. This family, whose roots in the region went back to the seventeenth century, had a significant impact on Sauternes. But only since 1981, when the property was acquired by Canadian shipbuilder Frank Narby, has Guiraud regained the prestige, quality, and grandeur it deserves, given its fabulous terroir.
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