Bordeaux - a safe haven for good taste
Bordeaux is balance. A harmony of terroir, grape varieties and wines. On 120,000 hectares of water-permeable limy and gravelly soils, proudly called graves garonnaise the deep-rooted vines find ideal conditions to press mainly fine and balanced red wines from Bordeaux, with great care and expertise. With the emphasis on the native grape varieties Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, the velvety and full-bodied cuvées are created, which, refined with Malbec, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, continue a centuries-old balance in perfection. But the Bordeaux wine region is by no means a homogeneous vineyard. Divided into the left and right banks and the areas of the Entre-Deux-Mers in between, each region developed its own style, dominant grape varieties and contribution to the Bordelais as a whole.
The so-called left bank internalises some of the most famous chateaux that the wine world has to offer. Divided into the three growing regions Graves, Sauternes and Médoc, the areas offer optimal conditions for the cultivation of Cabernet Sauvignon. Tannic, spicy Bordeaux red wines with great ageing potential form the result, great wines the outcome.
Situated exactly at the 45th parallel, the ocean climate blows through the relatively flat vineyards of the Médoc. Between the Atlantic coast and the city of Bordeaux, famous chateaux line up on the banks of the Gironde, which year after year increase the fame of Bordeaux with the best red wines. Cabernet Sauvignon is king here and finds best conditions from Saint-Estèphe over Pauillac up to the mud plateau in Margaux.
South of Bordeaux, the Garonne dictates the direction of the Graves wine growing area. The vines, which are lined up close together, share only a few square metres - little quantity, high quality. Together with the fertile alluvial land with pebble, sand and clay parts and an advantageous microclimate, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, but also white grape varieties such as Cabernet Blanc and Sémillon enjoy ideal conditions for harmonious to crisp wines from Graves.
The world-famous sweet wines from Sauternes give this small wine growing area in the middle of Graves an unmistakable unique selling point. Muscadelle, Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon, who is in leading position, produce excellent results on large limestone deposits which are surrounded by fog. The municipalities of Sauternes, Barsac and Cérons prove year after year that Bordeaux can do more than just opulent red wines.
Although the right bank, in contrast to the left bank, has no ancient classification and tradition and history is less important, the wines from the right bank of the Gironde and Dordogne are no less legendary. Merlot is the main focus here, dictating the taste of the Blaye, Bourg and Libournais wine regions with rich fruity and floral aromas.
Blaye and Bourg
Opposite the Chateaux of the Médoc are the Blaye and Bourg vineyards, with their sun-drenched vineyards predestined for powerful and fruity red wines. The variety of grape varieties cultivated on the clay and limestone soils is great and offers winegrowers many opportunities to create their Bordeaux cuvées. Above all, Merlot produces the floral and round character of the quality wines typical of the region.
The Libournais is a real jewel in the heart of the Bordeaux region, steeped in history. The village of Saint-Émilion is a Unesco heritage site and offers the perfect setting for a fruity and velvety red wine. As is typical of the right bank, Merlot is the most important local grape variety, followed by small percentages of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carménère and Malbec. The famous Pomerol, Puisseguin Saint-Émilion and Lussac vineyards benefit from the lime-clay mixture of the gravelly soil, which drains the vines deeply.
While the left and right banks clearly define Bordeaux wines as red, it is the Entre-Deux-Mers wine region that overturns these conventions and brings colour to Bordeaux with crisp, fresh white wines from Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle. Mainly vivacious and fruity white wines, but also sporadic red wines and sweet wines, expand the range of exquisite Bordeaux wines.
The climate in the Bordeaux region is due to its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. The rivers and forests create a temperate and stable climate. Only the hours of sunshine and rainfall are unpredictable variables that can lead to strong variations in the vintages of the wines.
- 2009: The summer was hot, the nights cool; ideal for alcoholic and fruity red wines with elegantly integrated tannins. All in all an exceptionally good vintage.
- 2010: Many hours of sunshine with long finishes resulted in fully ripe and healthy grapes, which blessed the red wine with strong fruit aromas, harmonious acidity and very good aging potential.
- 2011: Still sunny in the spring, the summer was humid, cold and lacking sunshine. The red wines nevertheless show a fine structure with fruity finesse and an engaging colour.
- 2012: The frosty beginning of the year was followed by a sunny transition from summer to autumn - enough for the grapes to fully develop. This gave the red wines from Bordeaux an undreamt-of freshness and spiciness, which together with the fruity aromas resulted in a successful vintage.
- 2013: The almost devastating effects of rain, storms and even hail made it difficult for the winegrowers to cope. The smallest harvest in decades nevertheless produced rounded fruity red wines, which, when drunk young, provide the greatest pleasure.
- 2014: Strong temperature fluctuations in the earlier half of the year and ideal conditions later in the year made this vintage a great success. Intense colours characterise the elegant structure, which will only get better over the years.
- 2015: In 2015, the climate offered perfect conditions for viticulture in Bordeaux. Sunny days and cool nights enrich the red wines with perfect structure, fruity and intense aromas and subtle tannins.
- 2016: This year's abundant harvest is due to the extremely dry climate, with the longed-for rainfall in late summer. The perfectly ripened grapes shone with impressive fruit sweetness and tasty aromas of dark fruits, which are also reflected in the almost black color.
- 2017: Difficult weather conditions marked the grapes. Hardly any water stored in the soil, frost, hail and severe drought in summer. The harvest losses are immense and it remains to be seen whether the wines of 2017 will meet the requirements of Bordeaux.
- 2018: Time will tell what treasures the winegrowers of the Bordeaux region will create in the years to come. Until then you can taste the exquisite Bordeaux wines from older vintages. At VINELLO you will find affordable Bordeaux quality wines for the sublime enjoyment of the finest wines.
The quality hierarchy in Bordeaux
The classification of the Mèdoc and Sauternes 1855
The Romans, who planted numerous vines around the settlement of Burdigala at the time, already knew that the wines from the Bordeaux region were good. Napoleon III wanted to find out how good the wines really were in 1855, before he would present them at the World Fair in Paris. This was followed by an irreversible division of the wineries on the left bank, mainly Mèdoc, Sauternes and a red wine from Graves, into several categories based on the production volume. Premiers Crus, the highest level of the hierarchy, comprised then 4 and today 5 wineries, 3 of them near the city of Pauillac. The categorization ended with the Cinquièmes Crus, the fifth wines, or the second wines, whose characteristics are not sufficient for the Crus status. This means qualitatively not with a Grand Crus on a level, but quite high-quality wines from Bordeaux. A similar classification was carried out at the same time for sweet wines from the municipalities of Sauternes and Barsac, whereby only Premier Cru Supérieur, Premier Cru Classé and Deuxième Cru Classé were distinguished.
Between 1953 and 1959, a single-level classification followed for the Graves vineyards. In contrast to the categorisation of the Chateaux in the Médoc, the vineyards in Graves were either classified or not.
The classification of wineries in Saint-Émilion 1954 differentiates a total of 3 categories. The highest level is Premier Grand Cru Classé, which is subdivided into two subcategories A and B again. The classification ends with the Grands Crus Classé. Unlike the classification in the Mèdoc, this classification is temporary and is reviewed every 10 years. Ascending and descending wineries are therefore not uncommon.
Pomerol is special among the Bordeaux region's wine-growing regions. A classification of the wines does not take place there, although to wine connoisseurs the elevated reputation of some Chateaux is more than known.
Our VINELLO recommendation
Mouton Cadet Edition Vintage Bordeaux AOC 1,5 l - Baron Philippe de Rothschild
The Baron Philippe de Rothschild winery presents us with a garnet red and spicy red wine of the extra class from the glorious vineyards around the small town of Pauillac. The full potential of the Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc grape varieties lies in the round body, which plays around the nose with fruity nuances of blackberries and currants on the palate. Rounded off with fine roasted notes, vanilla and oak spices, the Mouton Cadet Edition Vintage AOC offers 1.5 litres of aromatic fullness, which harmonises wonderfully with strong meat dishes.
Buy Bordeaux wines online
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