Bordeaux has been the home to fine wines for hundreds of years. It is no wonder it is deemed to be the city of vinicultural influence and excellence.
When it comes to wine making, some parts of the world ring out louder than others. There are names that take specific wine store shelves and are stacked in exquisite wine cellars. But there is one name that resonates louder than any other wine-making country and has made a huge impact on the entire world. This place is Bordeaux, a region as much as a city that has redefined fine wine as a concept that runs across the globe and over centuries. To understand the rationale for the popularity of this wine, we have to look at the historical background of the wine region and its geo-political significance.
Some of the priciest bottles of wine come from Bordeaux and they provide great value for money to consumers. Great wine cellars around the world hold wines from this wine region.
Bordeaux is a vibrant city and a developed port on the Gironde. The recently opened Cité du Vin (www.laciteduvin.com) pays homage to this legendary setting in which now fewer than 250,000 acres are vineyards. There are more than 20,000 winemakers but only about 100 are renowned globally.
Basically, Bordeaux is a business city by default. It has been of great importance as far as international trade goes in the last 500 years. Thanks to the royalty and aristocracy in Old Europe Bordeaux wine grew and prospered fashionably with funds being channelled to different wineries of the area so that the winemaking business could continue expanding. The wineries were particularly successful because of the favourable viniculture climate. The cool oceanic breezes, fertile soil and warm temperatures make the region perfect for wine production.
Distinctive Quality Grapes
Bordeaux region produces some of the best red wines, but many sweet white wines originate from here, too. We are not talking about the typical red table wines, but meticulously blended wines from top-notch grape varieties. The grapes are mixed and balanced to create extraordinary notes, textures, and flavours. The noble grapes include Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Most wineries and appellations may add other varieties like Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. However, the only varieties that matter are the Merlot and the Cabernet Sauvignon. They are required by law for a wine to carry the Bordeaux label.
Bordeaux has different sub-regions which are unique in their own ways. The region is separated by Gironde River to create two major sub-regions. The left bank has some of the highest-quality wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. These wines have deeper bodies, higher astringency, and stronger tannins. Adding on to this character, a smaller amount of Merlot brings a plumy and fruity smoothness to a Bordeaux wine bottle.
On the right side of the bank, Merlot is used as the prime grape. So, the soft and fruity wines are strengthened by Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Every winery includes other blends to accentuate the qualities and give rise to a special wine family. The wines may differ slightly, but they come from the same grape varietal and their consistency is excellent.
The Aging Potential
All Bordeaux red wines are aged in barrels before packaging. But due to the emphasis on Cabernet Sauvignon tannin, they can still age in the bottles. This process allows the tannins to soften. The other wine components blend further, creating the optimal complexity and roundness. That is why most Bordeaux wines sell for high prices at auctions and often end up sitting untouched in the dusty cellar for years.
You don’t need to be super rich to enjoy Bordeaux Wine
There is a wrong notion that Bordeaux is made for the rich. The wine is excellent and exclusive, but you don’t have to rob a bank to buy any. For less than £30, you can find a red Bordeaux wine from various appellations such as St Emilion. There are very strict rules in France regarding the quality of Bordeaux wine and so the consumers are highly protected from unnecessary price inflations. So, you can participate in the viticulture tradition with a relatively small amount of cash.