Monday, April 6, 2015

France Unit 7 - The Bordeaux

The following are my notes for studying the wines of the Bordeaux region of France. In these notes I’ll provide information about the viticultural history, topography, climate, soils, important red and white grapes and the AOCs of the regions. I also include notes on the wines tasted during in the French Wine Scholar class (FWS – 06 Bordeaux).

The Viticultural History of Bordeaux
Bordeaux has been a wine region for almost 2000 years as the Romans were the first to plant vineyards (around 43 A.D.). While the quality of the wines was recognized as early as 71 A.D. by such people as Pliny the Elder, they were only consumed locally. Since then there are been significant historical stages in the development of wine region.
In the 12th century Bordeaux became an important international region when Henry II of England married Eleanor of Aquitaine in 1152 A.D. At that time Bordeaux came under the control of the British Empire and it would continue for the next 300 years. The name Bordeaux derives from the French au bord de l'eau which means “along the waters” which refers to Gironde estuary and its tributaries, the Garonne and the Dordogne rivers which play a pivotal role in the history and success of this region. Britain was a sea-fairing empire which sold France’s wines throughout Europe so Bordeaux’s immediate access to the ocean via the rivers, which also have an impact on the climate of the region, played an important part of the international success.
During the 13th century, the Graves was the principal wine region of Bordeaux. While there were some vines growing in the Entre-Deux-Mers, Saint-Émilion and Blaye, during this time the Médoc was essentially a swamp.
In the 17th century Dutch traders began to drain the marshland around the Médoc and encouraged the planting of vineyards. The Dutch would also open new distribution channels to the Bourgeosis.
In the 18th century a merchant class emerged with the resources to store and sell wine on a commercial scale. Traditionally, négociants acted as one type of intermediary, buying fruit or wine in barrel to age in their own cellars before selling the bottled wine. Courtiers—brokers of wine—became a powerful force in the Médoc, supplying the châteaux with financial backing while gaining total control over the actual trade of wine. While the négociants faded in influence after World War II with the rising appeal of estate bottling, the courtiers of Bordeaux maintain their authority over the trade, and are responsible for the current method of en primeur sales, the yearly offering of Bordeaux wine as futures. Today Bordeaux is one of the world’s most important fine wine regions. It is the second largest producer in France.
Geography of Bordeaux
Bordeaux is located in the southwest quadrant of France and is divided by the Gironde River into the “Left” and “Right” banks of the river. However, I believe it would be more accurate to refer to them as the “West” and “East” banks. After all, we don’t refer to California as being on the “Left Coast” and New York as being on the “Right Coast”, do we? But for the sake of harmony with all other resourses on Bordeaux I’ll use the “Left” and “Right” bank designations. In this study, we’ll look at the Médoc and Graves on the Left Bank as well as the Libournais and the Entre-Deux-Mers on the Right Bank of Bordeaux. The Bordeaux region covers 100 km (63 miles) from north to south and 125 km (78 miles) from east to west with 118,800 hectares (306,000 acres) of vineyard producing Red, white, rosé, sweet, and sparkling wines.
Climate of Bordeaux
Bordeaux has a maritime climate due to the influence of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gironde estuary but it becomes more continental toward St-Émilion and Pomerol on the right bank. The ocean’s gulf stream warms and moderates the temperatures which can protect the vines from winter freezes and spring frost. There is also the Les Landes, a 1 million hectare (2.5 million acre) planted pine forest which provides a barrier from the strong ocean winds and storms. The region receives about 33 inches of rain per year which is quite a bit when compared to compared to the Napa Valley which receives less than 24 inches per year. Consequently irrigation is not needed nor is it allowed. Bordeaux has numerous rivers which feed into the Gironde Estuary which also help to moderate the climate. In the south end of Bordeaux is the Entre-Deux-Mers which is flanked by the Dordogne and Garonne Rivers. Bordeaux tends to have a moderate Winter, but it can have severe freezes such as in 1956 which destroyed ¼ of the vineyards in Bordeaux. The Spring in Bordeaux is wet which can bring frost and humidity that can result in severe problems with mold, rot and lead to coulure and millerandage, reducing the eventual yield.[1] To counteract this malady vignerons apply what is known as the “Bordeaux mixture” a blend of lime, copper sulfate, and water. The Summer in Bordeaux is quite warm and sunny but there may also be a lot of cloud cover due to the ocean and grapes can struggle to ripen. Autumn in Bordeaux can receive rain which can endanger vineyards with humidity and rot and cause grapes to swell. But in the sweet wine districts of Graves it can beneficial for the development of noble rot, but in cooler years it may develop into grey rot which can damage the fruit. Consequently, Bordeaux can have greater vintage variation than other Bordeaux and Merlot producing regions such as the Napa Valley. [2]
Soils of Bordeaux
One of the key features that distinguishes the West and East side of the Gironde which divides the Left and Right sides of Bordeaux is the differences in soil. The left bank tends to have more Gravel and Sand (particularly in the Medoc) and when the soils become warmed by the sun they radiate heat up into the vine canopy which makes it the best soil for Cabernet Sauvignon. On the right bank there is more Clay and Limestone, dense soils that retain a lot of moisture, and tend to be more favorable to Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The limestone enables these grapes to produce wines with more acidity and more refined tannins such as those from Saint-Émilion.
Viniculture of Bordeaux
Most Bordeaux dry white wines are stainless steel fermented and do not spend time in oak or undergo malolactic fermentation. In Bordeaux the blend of the wine, encépagement, is important because some the different vines flower and are harvested at different times. For example, Cabernet Sauvignon may avoid late spring frosts that can be hazardous for Merlot which buds later, but the Cabernet Sauvignon may suffer from heavy Autumn rain whereas Merlot ripens earlier and will have already been harvested. This provides Bordeaux a form of insurance as it can rely on either more Merlot on cooler and wetter years or use more Cabernet Sauvignon in better vintages.
Primary AOC/AOP White Grapes of Bordeaux
Sauvignon Blanc
Makes up 55% of white plantings, it offers pungency, high acidity, and citrus flavors.
Semillon
Makes up 34% of white plantings, blended with Sauvignon Blanc it is often rounded with oak; the best white wines (whether dry or off-dry) achieve creamy, waxy texture while emitting unique aromas of honey and beeswax.
Muscadelle
Makes up 7% of white plantings, it is added sparingly, as intense floral character can quickly overtake the wine’s balance.[3]
Secondary AOC/AOP White Grapes of Bordeaux
The following are restricted to a maximum proportion of 30% in any white wine blend.
Ugni Blanc
Merlot Blanc
Colombard
Chenin Blanc
Folle Blanche
Mauzac
Ondenc

AOC/AOP Red Wine Grapes of Bordeaux
Merlot
Makes up 60% of red plantings it is the most widely planted grape in Bordeaux and the earliest grape to ripen, prefers clay-based soils, as they delay its natural vigor. In the blend it contributes a fleshy, juicy texture that can soften the austerity of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Cabernet Sauvignon
Makes up 26% of red plantings, it performs best in well-drained gravel, which allows the vine’s root system to dig deeply while slight water stress adds concentration to the fruit. The grape has difficulty ripening in colder limestone and clay soils. It is highly pigmented and tannic which gives the blend structure, power, and longevity.
Cabernet Franc
Makes up 12% of red plantings, it does best in limestone-based soils, which promote acidity and freshness in the wines. It is a more tannic grape than Merlot but less muscular or weighty than Cabernet Sauvignon and it imparts herbal spice and red fruit aromatics in the blend.
The next 3 grapes collectively comprise only 2% of the red grapes of Bordeaux
Malbec
Known as Pressac on the Right Bank, Auxerrois or Côt Noir in Cahors. In the winter of 1956 the temperature dropped to -26°C (-15°F) and killed many of the Malbec plantings after which most of it was not replanted. Instead, vignerons replanted with Merlot. Malbec, performs similarly to Merlot in the blend but is infrequently encountered in Bordeaux. Malbec now thrives in Cahor in Southern France and in the Mendozza in Argentina.
Petit Verdot
The last grape in Bordeaux to ripen, it is occasionally added on the Left Bank in minute quantities for color, depth and exotic aromas. It is essentially non-existent on the Right Bank.
Carmenère
The name “Carménère” originates from the French word for crimson (carmin) which refers to the brilliant crimson color of the autumn foliage prior to leaf-fall. Most of the Carmenère can be found in Pauillac at Chateau Mouton Rothschild and Chateau Clerc Milon. But the grape is virtually extinct in the region and is more commonly found in Chile in South America. In fact only 4 hectares (about 10 acres) of Carmenère remains in Bordeaux. Château Clerc Milon (classified as a Fifth Growth) has the largest plantings in the entire appellation with 1% of their vines devoted to Carmenère which were planted in 1947.[4]



Bordeaux AOC Required Yields
Although regulations stipulate a minimum level of alcohol today it is a non-issue as wines are typically over 12% abv.
AOC
Maximum Yield
Minimum Alcohol
Bordeaux AOC White
4 tons per acre
10%
Bordeaux AOC Red
3.6 tons per acre
10.5%
Bordeaux Supérieur White
2.9 tons per acre
11 %
Bordeaux Supérieur Red
3.5 tons per acre
11%

Types Bordeaux AOCs
Communal
Examples Margaux, St-Estèphe, Pessac-Leognan, Barsac, Sauternes, Saint-Emillion, Pomerol, Fronsac.
Regional
Examples include Bordeaux, Bordeaux Supérieur, Bordeaux Clairet, and Bordeaux Rosé.
Sub-Regional
Médoc, Haut-Médoc, Graves, Entre-Deux-Mers, Bordeaux Haut-Benauge, Côtes de Bordeaux-Saint-Macaire, Côtes de Blaye.

The Bordeaux Left Bank

Médoc AOCs/AOPs
There are 12 AOCs/AOPs in the Médoc which are as follows:
1. Médoc AOC
The Médoc terroir stretches along the left bank of the Garonne River that covers the northern section of the viticultural strip along the Médoc peninsula. The zone is sometimes referred to as the Bas-Médoc (Low-Médoc), though this term is not permitted on any label. The term “Médoc” is often used in a geographical sense to refer to the whole Left Bank region, and as defined by the original INAO. The area covers approximately 5,700 hectares (14,085 acres) of declared vineyards, constituting 34.5% of the Médoc total, annually producing on average 300,000 hectoliters (7,900,000+ Gallons) of wine. The soils consist of Garonne gravel, Pyrenees gravel and clay limestone as well as heavy, clay-rich, moisture-retentive soils better suited for Merlot grape than Cabernet Sauvignon. About 50% of the viticultural area is planted with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and to a lesser extent Petit Verdot and Malbec (“Côt”).[5]
2. Haut-Médoc AOC
Haut-Médoc is a sub-appellation of the Médoc AOC. Originally it was a vast region of salt marshes used for animal grazing rather than viticulture. In the 17th century, Dutch merchants drained marshland along the Gironde and converted it into land suitable for planting vineyards in order to provide the British an alternative to the Graves and Portuguese wines that were dominating the market. Soon the Bordeaux wine regions of Margaux, Saint-Julien, Pauillac and Saint-Estèphe were formed. The area covers approximately 4,600 hectares (11,366 acres) of declared vineyards, constituting 28.5% of the Médoc total, annually producing on average 255,000 hectolitres (674,000 gallons) of wine. About 52% of the viticultural area is planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, with additional cultivation of Merlot, Petit Verdot and to a small degree Malbec (“Cot”), Cabernet Franc and Carménère.[6]
3. St-Estèphe AOC
The AOC is named after the St-Estèphe commune and is the northernmost of the six communal appellations in Médoc. The sol de grave (a soil type containing a mixture of gravels, clay and sand), shared by all Médoc AOCs, contains a slightly higher proportion of clay in this particular area. It has 1,230 hectares (3,000 acres) of under vine and on average it produces about 8.7 million bottles per year by 136 different vignerons, 80 of them are members of cooperatives and 56 are private estates. It is home to five classified growths of 1855 (Grands Crus Classés en 1855).
4. Pauillac AOC
This AOC is located within the Haut-Médoc centered on the small town of Pauillac from it takes its name. It is sandwiched between St-Estèphe to the north and St-Julien to the south along the Gironde Estuary with the Haut-Médoc, the commune of St Sauveur and the Landes Forest to the west. It is home to 3 of the 5 First Growths (Premier Cru) of Bordeaux: Châteaux Latour, Châteaux Lafite Rothschild and Châteaux Mouton Rothschild. Cabernet Sauvignon is the predominant grape but Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec are permitted although they will not necessarily be included.[7]
5. St-Julien AOC
The AOC is one of the six communal appellations in Médoc located between the Margaux and Pauillac appellations and is named after the Saint-Julien-Beychevelle commune. The vineyards are planted on a bed of sedimentary rock with gravel and pebble surface soil. It produces the same grapes as its neighboring AOCs. The maximum permitted yield per hectare is 45 hectolitres (approx. 39 barrels) wherever the density of planting is between 6,500 and 10,000 vines per hectare. This appellation is traditionally divided into two areas. The southern wines tend to be softer and more like the Margaux wines whereas the northern wines tend to be more robust and powerful such as the Léoville wines whose vineyards border the vineyards of Latour and thus have more in common with the wines of Pauillac.
6. Margaux AOC
This AOC is the southernmost appellation in the Médoc and borders the Landes Forest is to the west. The soil is the thinnest in the Médoc, with the highest proportion of gravel. It is home to one First Growth (premier cru), which bears the same name, Château Margaux. It also contains 21 cru classé châteaux, more than any other commune in Bordeaux. Cabernet Sauvignon is the predominant grape but the other Bordeaux varietals are allowed. Margaux has 1413 hectares (3491acres) of under vine, making it the second largest appellation in the Haut-Médoc after Saint-Estèphe. The vines ripen 7–10 days before the rest of the Médoc.[8]
7. Moulis-en-Médoc AOC
The AOC is named after the small village of Moulis-en-Medoc in the Haut-Medoc, it is adjacent to the Listrac-Médoc AOC and it has no classified growths. The wines must be made from grapes grown in specific plots in the parishes of Arcins, Avensan, Castelnau, Cussac, Lamarque and Listrac. The vineyard densities must be between 6500 and 10,000 plants per hectare (2631–4048 per acre) and the yield must not exceed 45hL per hectare. The best soils of Moulis consist of a mixture of clay and limestone, allowing for the production of some high-quality wines based on Cabernet Sauvignon. However, the vineyards do not have proportions of gravel found in Margaux or Graves.
8. Listrac-Médoc AOC
It is located adjacent to the Moulis-en-Medoc AOC and it has no classified growths. The land consists of limestone and clay soils (rather than the more beneficial gravel and clay), and is a little further from the temperature-moderating influences of the Gironde estuary. The community has a total surface area of 700 hectares (about 1729 acres) of vineyards planted to shallow soils so vine roots do not run very deep.[9] The dominate grape is Cabernet Sauvignon but the other Bordeaux varietals are also allowed. The vineyard densities must be between 6500 and 10,000 plants per hectare (2631–4048 per acre) and the yield must not exceed 45hL per hectare. Well known wineries include Château Clarke, Château Fonréaud, Chateau Fourcas-Dupre, Chateau Fourcas-hosting and Château Peyre-Lebade.

Graves and Sauternais AOCs/AOPs
There are 6 AOCs/AOPs in the Graves which are as follows:
1. Graves AOC
The district is located southeast of the city Bordeaux and stretches over 50 kilometers (31 miles). Like the Medoc, the vineyards are planted on gravel soils (graves) which gives the region its name but they have more sand toward the south. This mixture of sand, gravel and light clay is known as boulbenes. It is the only district producing both Grand Cru white (Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle.) and red wines (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot Cabernet Franc, etc.). Unlike the Médoc appellations, both red and dry white wines may be labeled as Graves AOC/AOP. White wine accounts for about 25% of production. The region now has 13 estates classified as cru classé for red wines and 9 for white wines. There are 16 châteaux but now Château La Tour Haut-Brion (classified for red wine) produced its final vintage in 2005 and Château Laville Haut-Brion (classified for white wine) produced its final vintage in 2008. Both properties now supply fruit for a second red wine and a new white wine under the Château La Mission Haut-Brion label.
2. Graves Supérieures AOC
The AOC is an appellation for sweet white wine covering the same area as Graves AOC. The wines are generally considered less refined than those of Cérons AOC. About 500 hectares (1,200 acres) of vineyards were dedicated to the production of Graves Supérieures.
3. Pessac-Léognan AOC
Established as an AOC in 1987, as the communal sub-appellation in northern Graves, it effectively become the prestige appellation for both red and dry white wines while sidelining the producers of the southern Graves. All cru classé properties are located within the communes of Pessac-Léognan AOP: Pessac, Léognan, Cadaujac, Canéjan, Gradignan, Martillac, Mérignac, Saint-Médard-d'Eyrans, Talence, and Villenave-d'Ornons.
4. Sauternes AOC
The Sauternes region is located 40 km (25 miles) southeast of the city of Bordeaux along the Garonne river and its tributary, the Ciron. The area sits on an alluvial plain with sandy and limy soils.[10] This appellation of Graves produces intensely sweet, white, dessert wines from late harvested Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle that have Botrytis cinerea (“Noble Rot”), the most well-known is the Premier Cru Supérieur classified Château d'Yquem.
5. Barsac AOC
Wines produced in the commune of Barsac, such as Premiers Crus Château Climens and Château Coutet, are allowed to be labeled either with the commune name (as Barsac AOC) or with Sauternes. In the autumn, the Ciron river produces mist that descends upon the area and persists until after dawn. These conditions are conducive to the growth of the fungus, which desiccates the grape and concentrates the sugars inside.
6. Cérons AOC
An appellation for sweet white wines of similar style as Sauternes and Barsac but there are no classified properties so they tend to be more affordable. The primary reason for this is its inferior terrior. The vineyards region experiences less chance of the morning mists required for the development of botrytis and it has a flatter landscape that is less able to trap the mist which deprives Cerons’ vignerons of the various mesoclimates found around Sauternes. Also the appellation laws allow higher yields than those of Sauternes or Barsac which decreases the incentive for the local vignerons to strive for quality over quantity in their harvest. However, the wines are considered superior to those of Graves Supérieures AOC of which Cérons effectively is an enclave.[11]
The Bordeaux Right Bank
The Libournais
The principal city on the Right Bank of the Dordogne and Gironde is Lisbourne and the wine regions surrounding it are referred to as the Libournais. Whereaas Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominate grape in the blend in good vintages on the Left Bank, Merlot is the dominate red grape on the right bank regardless of the vintage.
The Libournais AOCs
There are 10 AOCs/AOPs on the Libournais which are as follows:
1. St-Émilion AOC
Established in 1954, it covers the same area of production as the St-Émilion Grand Cru AOC but the latter has restrictor production standards. Most of the soils are limestone and clay but there are also pockets of sand along the river similar to Pomerol. There are 4 satellite appellations for St-Émilion: Lussac, St-Georges, Montagne, and Puisseguin. Pomerol’s neighboring red wine districts include Lalande-de-Pomerol AOP, which contains the communes of Lalande-de-Pomerol and Néac, Fronsac AOP, and Canon-Fronsac AOP.
2. St-Émilion Grand Cru AOC
Established in 1954, the AOC has 5 quality control differences that are more restrictive than St-Émilion AOC.
(1) The vineyard yield is restricted to 8,000 kg per hectare rather than 9,000 (which translates to 55 hL per hectare rather than 65).
(2) The grapes (with the significant exception of Merlot) must be harvested with a must weight of at least 189 grams of sugar per liter rather than 180.
(3) The finished wine must reach a minimum alcohol level of 11.5% ABV rather than 11%.
(4) The wine must be stored by the producer for an extra 14 months before being released for sale.
(5) The wine must pass a tasting panel twice before being approved for the AOC.[12]
3. Pomerol AOC
Established as an AOC in 1936, the Pomerol AOC is located just north of the city of Liborne south of Lalande-de-Pomerol, northwest of Saint-Émilion and east of Fronsac. Whereas other AOCs are named after the central town, Pomerol is named after a church. It is the smallest of the major fine wine regions in Bordeaux, covering an area that is roughly 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) wide by 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) long. The dominate red grape is Merlot with Cabernet Franc playing a supporting role.
4. Lalande-de-Pomerol AOC
Located just north of Pomerol, the two main villages of the appellation are Lalande-de-Pomerol (from which the AOC takes its name) and Néac. The vineyards of Néac are planted on clay and gravelly soil more commonly seen in neighboring Pomerol, while the vineyards of Lalande are planted on soil containing more sand. The wines are based on Merlot, but may also contain Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec.
5. Fronsac AOC
It is located close to the northern bank of the Dordogne river, just a few miles to the west of Libourne. Wines labeled Fronsac or Canon-Fronsac must be made from grapes grown some distance from the alluvial soils close to the banks of the Dordogne. It is the slightly higher land beginning just a few hundred meters to the north that produces the better vines. The soils here are composed more of sandstone and limestone than clay, giving the vines a certain resistance to hotter weather. In vintages like 2003, when the temperatures in August regularly exceeded 104°F (40°C), grapes grown in Fronsac produced better-balanced wines than other, more-famous Bordeaux appellations. Merlot is the dominant grape in Fronsac and is regularly paired with Cabernet Franc.[13]
6. Canon-Fronsac AOC
The AOC is encompassed by the wider Fronsac appellation. The wines are theoretically superior to those of the Fronsac appellation. It has a slightly elevation at the appellation’s northern end, away from the alluvial soils by the Dordogne, that produces the best wines. The soils here are more sandstone and limestone than clay, which lends the vines a certain resistance to hotter weather. The wines are made from Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec grapes. Cabernet Sauvignon is also permitted but they do not often achieve the desired ripeness.[14]
The following are St-Émilion Satellite AOCs:
7. St-George-St-Émilion AOC
Established as an AOC in 1936, it is located north of Saint-Émilion and is part of Montagne commune. It consists of 192 hectares (470 acres) of vine planted areas with an annual average production of 9,333 hl of wine. Merlot is the dominant grape (75% of the planted area) but the other Bordeaux red varietals may also be included.
8. Lussac-St-Émilion AOC
Established as an AOC in 1936, it is located about 45 kilometers (28 miles) from city of Bordeaux or 9 kilometers (5.6 miles) from the village of Saint-Émilion. A total of 900 hectares (2,200 acres) are under vine managed by 95 independent vineyard owners. The AOC has a diversity of soils distributed between the plateaus, the sides of the hills and small valleys. To the south-east, the slopes are clayey-limestone, similar in nature to those in the St-Émilion appellation. To the west, there is a narrow elevated gravel and sandy-gravel plateau and to the north, cold clayey soil or heavy clay is predominant. To the east, the subsoil consists of limestone beds which made excellent quarries for extracting soft building stone. To the north-west, there are a few stone quarries, as well as ferruginous sand (containing or resembling iron rust) or clay. Merlot is the dominant grape but the other Bordeaux red varietals may also be included.
9. Montagne-St-Émilion AOC
Established as an AOC in 1936, it consists of 1,570 hectares (3,900 acres) under vine with an average annual production of 74,130 hl. Merlot is the dominant grape but the other Bordeaux red varietals may also be included.
10. Puisseguin-St-Émilion AOC
Established as an AOC in 1936, it consists of 753 hectares (1,860 acres) under vine with an average annual production of a production of 34,648 hl. Merlot is the dominant grape but the other Bordeaux red varietals may also be included.
 
Viticultural History of Entre-Deux-Mers
The name Entre-Deux-Mers means “between two seas” and is located south and due east of the city of Bordeaux located between two bodies of water, the Garonne and the Dordogne Rivers. Most of Entre-Deux-Mers consists of 10,000 hectares (24,710 acres) of land most of which is forestland that is not suitable for growing grapes. With time the two rivers have left sand, gravel and clay coats on the soil that mingle with more ancient limestone rock and offer an inimitable diversity of soil varieties. The vineyard is located on high lands cut by numerous streams that formed the hills. The appellation has 2,400 hectares (5930 acres) under vine and with about 250 different producers. Most estates in the Entre-Deux-Mers appellation are large, as each chateau has on average close to 60 hectares (148 acres) under vine. The region produces about 1 million cases of wine per year.
The earliest vines were planted in the region during the gallo-roman colonization, but it was the Christian monks of the Middle Age who truly cultivated the land. In 1079 the Abbey of La Sauve Majeure was founded by Gérard de Corbie. The Benedictine monks cleared the “silva major” forest and planted the vines, improved the cultural methods and then established a privileged trade with England. Soon the Abbey expanded its influence. A century after its foundation 76 priories depended on the Abbey of La Sauve Majeure. At the end of the 13th and beginning of the 14th century the first fortified cities (bastides) emerged from this region of the English Aquitaine, of the Plantagenêts: Monségur (1265), Sauveterre, Pellegrue, Blasimon, Créon (1312). These fortified cities are still today the core of the historical personality of the Entre-deux-Mers.”[15]
The Entre-Deux-Mers AOCs
There are 10 AOCs/AOPs with the Entre-Deux-Mers which are as follows:
1. Entre-Deux-Mers AOC
Established 1937 for the dry white wines, the dominant grape is Sauvignon Blanc grape, with Sémillon and Muscadelle playing supporting roles.
2. Entre-Deux-Mers-Haut-Benauge AOC
Appellation for dry white wines produced primarily from Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle (70%) plus Merlot Blanc (max 30%), Colombard, Mauzac and Ugni Blanc (max 10%).
3. Bordeaux-Haut- Benague AOC
Located above the Premiere Côtes across the river from Cerons. It produces dry, sweet and medium-Sweet whites from Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle.
4. Cadillac AOC
This AOC is named after the town of Cadillac after which the famous car brand was also named in honor of Antoine de la Mothe (1658-1730), founder of the locally born gave the auto city of Detroit and later governor of Louisiana. The AOC produces sweet Botrytised white wines. The dominant grape is Sémillon (70%), followed by Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris (20%) and Muscadelle (10%). The wine must have a minimum 12% abv., but cannot exceed 19%, and have at least 51 grams of residual sugar per liter.
5. Loupiac AOC
The AOC is located 30 km (18 miles) south-east of Bordeaux city located between Cadillac and Sainte-Croix-du-Mont and just across the river from the Sauternes and Barsac AOCs. The AOC comprises 400 hectares (about 988 acres) of vineyards on clay limestone soil on the right bank of the Garonne. Like its neighbors (Cadillac and St.-Croix-du-Mont) the Loupiac produces sweet Botrytised white wines made from Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris and Muscadelle. The best vineyards are planted on the slopes above the banks of the Garonne which are composed of a mixture of clay and limestone.
6. Sainte-Croix-Du-Mont AOC
The AOC is located on the right bank of the Garonne river and extends over 500 hectares (1,200 acres). Vineyards are planted on clay and limestone hills that surround city and head towards river. Like its neighbors it produces sweet Botrytised white wines made from Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris and Muscadelle.
7. Sainte-Foy-Bordeaux-AOC
The AOC is named after the village Sainte-Foy located in the east side of the Entre-Deux-Mers adjacent to Bergerac. The small area comprises 250 hectares (about 618 acres) and produces sweet white wines from Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle, and a maximum of 10% Merlot Blanc, Colombard, Ugni Blanc and Mauzac. The red wines are made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot.
8. Graves de Vayres AOC
It covers 700 hectares (1,700 acres) across the Vayres and Arveyres communes. Around 40 producers tend the gravelly soil found on the left bank of the Dordogne River, on a geomorphic system of alluvial terraces. This terrace system is evidence that the Dordogne River sunk within the valley during the last Ice Age. Smallholdings, ranging from 0.67 hectares (1.7 acres) to around 60 hectares (150 acres) in area, only exist in the Vayres commune and the plateau of its neighboring commune, Arveyres. The limits of this appellation area were defined in 1936, by the gravel, sandy-gravel, clay-gravel and silty-gravel soils found along the path of the Dordogne, because of their potential qualities. Dry white Graves de Vayres wines are made from 100% Sauvignon grapes. These wines are fresh, lively, and perfumed with floral notes and hints of citrus fruit. Barrel-fermented wines made with 100% Sémillon grapes are characterized by their slick, buttery, and rich, rounded texture. The sweet moelleux variety of Graves de Vayres is made from 100% Sémillon grapes, which are harvested only when they are over-ripe. This gives sweet and honey notes, and a wine pale yellow in color. The majority of dry white Graves de Vayres is in fact composed of a blend of 70% Sauvignon, 20-25% Sémillion and 5-10% Muscadelle grapes.[16]
9. Côtes de Bordeaux Saint Macaire AOC
The appeal lies to the south of the large area Entre-Deux-Mers (Bordeaux) and forms the southern extension of the AC Premières Côtes de Bordeaux. The appellation is designed for 2,300 hectares (about 5,683 acres) of vineyard, but it used to be only 30 acres in ten municipalities. It applies to sweet and noble sweet white wines from the varieties Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle. The more important red wines are produced under the Bordeaux or Bordeaux Supérieur AC's. In the immediate neighborhood are the three appellations Cadillac - Cotes de Bordeaux and Loupiac.[17]
10. Premieres Côtes de Bordeaux AOC
The AOC extends 60 km (40 miles) along the right bank of the Garonne river, just before it passes the city of Bordeaux city en route to the Atlantic Ocean. The south-eastern end of this long, thin appellation extends to the very south of the Bordeaux region. Close to the Garonne river (where some patches of land are able to claim only the Bordeaux AOC title), the soils are gravelly and high in chalky clay, but the soil types vary as they move further away from the river. The wines produced under the Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux title are mostly red and are based on Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Dry white wines made here from Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc are labeled AC Bordeaux, as they are not regarded as being of sufficient quality to carry the more specific Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux title. More than 30 individual communes contribute to its output, with names like Beguey, Langoiran, Le Tourne, Rions and Paillet being added to their wine labels.[18]
The Côtes
The word “Côtes” in French means “slope” and the vineyards are planted on west-facing slopes to the rivers or right bank of the estuary. The soil on all of these slopes consists of clay and limestone and the vineyards are planted primarily to Merlot and Cabernet Franc.[19]
The Côtes AOCs
There are 7 AOCs/AOPs on the Right Bank which are as follows:
1. Premieres Côtes de Bordeaux
Located on the Right Bank of the Garonne within the sub-region of Entre-Deux-Mers. This northern section of the AOC produces red whereas the southern produces semi-sweet and sweet white wines. Pockets of gravel enable vignerons to plant a significant amount of Cabernet Sauvignon but Merlot dominates. White wines are a blend of Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle.
2. Côtes de Bordeaux-Saint-Macaire AOC
Located on the Right Bank of the Garonne within the sub-region of Entre-Deux-Mers. This AOC produces dry, semi-sweet and sweet white wines from Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle. The soils consist of limestone, clay-limestone and clay-sand composites.[20]
3. Côtes de Bourg AOC
Bourg is located 20 km (12 miles) north-west of Bordeaux, on the Right Bank of the Gironde Estuary and Garrone River with an average altitude of 20 m above sea level. Vineyards are planted on clay and limestone soils as well as a mosaic of sand and gravel in the area around Pugnac. Merlot (70%) and Malbec are widely cultivated on Sienna-red Quaternary alluvium. Merlot and Cabernet are planted on clay and sandy gravel soils while Merlot is also grown on the widespread areas of clay and limestone. Approximately 200 Chateaux producers in the appellation produces red wines from Merlot and Cabernet Franc as well as white wines from Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc plus Muscadelle, Merlot Blanc, Ugni Blanc and Colombard.
3. Blaye AOC
This AOC is located on the Right Banks of the Gironde Estuary and the Dordogne River and shares the same production area as Côtes de Blaye AOC and Premieres Côtes de Blaye. The vineyards are planted on a mix of soils including sandy gravel, clay and limestone most of which is planted to Merlot. Due to its proximity to the Charente department (Cognac), Ugni Blanc comprises 90% of the white blend with Colimbard, Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle and Chenin Blanc completing the blend.[21]
4. Côtes de Blaye AOC
This AOC is a large region with more than 6,600 hectares (about 16,309 acres) under vine. Due to its large size, Côtes de Blaye has a wide array of terroirs and soils, ranging from limestone and clay hillsides, to soils with more gravel, sand and chalk. The appellation produces dry white wines made from 60-90% Colombard with the balance consisting of Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle. Red wines are produced from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. In total, 40 different communes make up the sizable appellation.
5. Premieres Côtes de Blaye AOC
Established as in 2009. The vineyards are located north of Bordeaux opposite of the Medoc. It consists of about 6,700 hectares and produces about 310,000 hl per year. The vineyards are planted on complex soils from the limestone hills in the clay-limestone soil made of sand and gravel. This AOC produces red wines that a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. White wines are a blend of Ugni Blanc and Colombard along with secondary varieties.[22]
6. Côtes de Castillon AOC
Established as an AOC in 1989, the region takes its name from the famous battle of Castillon battle, which was fought in 1453. Centered close to the Castillon la Bataille, that deadly fight helped end the hundred years war between England and France. The AOC produces only red wine, based on Merlot and Cabernet Franc and about 10% Cabernet Sauvignon as well as a small amount of Small of Malbec, Petit Verdot and Carmenere. Some of the top producers include: Chateau d’Aiguilhe, Chateau Cap de Faugeres, Chateau Clos L’Eglise, Domaine de l’A, Chateau Clos Les Lunelles, Chateau Joanin Becot and l’Aurage. 
7. Bordeaux Côtes de Francs
Located 13 km (8 miles) north of the Dordogne River, it is closer to Bergerac than the city of Bordeaux. The AOC is made up of three parishes - Saint-Cibard, Tayac and Francs. The region produces red and white (dry and semi-sweet) from the classic Bordeaux grape varieties.[23]

The Bordeaux Classification System
There is a different classification system for the Left and Right Banks of Bordeaux. The student of wine, especially if you are studying for Certified Sommelier exams with the Court of Master Sommeliers or the WSET exams, would be wise if the following was intensely studied and memorized as it is one of the most important, and perhaps overwhelming, subjects in understanding French wine.
The 1855 Classification of the Médoc and Sauternes of Bordeaux
In 1852 Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte (20 April 1808 – 9 January 1873) succeeded in a Coup d’Estat at which time he became first President of the French Second Republic and the Emperor of the Second French Empire. He was then known as Napoleon III, the nephew and heir of the more well-known Napoléon Bonaparte I.
Then came one of the most important, and today perhaps one of the most controversial, events which in France’s viticultural history - the 1855 Classification of Bordeaux. The occasion was the Exposition Universelle (International Exhibition) held on the Champs-Élysées in Paris from 15 May to 15 November 1855. The event was intended to be an industrial and art exhibition which was to be considered superior to those of all previous exhibitions, specifically London's Great Exhibition of 1851 and attempted to surpass that fair's The Crystal Palace with its own Palais de l'Industrie. This was not a “Wine Exhibition”, it just so happens that a display of the wines of the Left Bank of Bordeaux were being displayed. It also was not intended to be a permanent classification but rather a “working document”. Nor was it specifically an assessment of the quality of the wines of the Left Bank of Bordeaux.[24] The listing of the “Cru” or “Growth” was based on the highest prices. Presumably highest prices were a reflection of demand and thus an indicator of quality. It must also be noted that whereas in Bourgogne the ranking goes with the vineyard (regardless as to who owns it) in Bordeaux the ranking goes with the Château. Thus if the Château buys more vineyard land the purchased vineyard would receive the higher classification.[25]
In later years there were a few challenges to the ranking and changes were made to the ranking system. In 1973 when Château Mouton Rothschild was elevated from a second growth (Deuxièmes Crus) to a first growth (Premiers Crus) vineyard after decades of intense lobbying by the Philippe de Rothschild.[26] The following lists are the classifications as they stand today and at least the first and second growths should be memorized by anyone studying for the Certified Sommelier exams with the Court of Master Sommeliers or the WSET exams:
Château Lafite Rothschild
First Growth (Premier Cru)
Château
AOC/AOP
1. Château Latour
Pauillac
2. Château Lafite
(now Château Lafite Rothschild)
Pauillac
3. Château Mouton
(now Château Mouton Rothschild)
Pauillac
4. Château Margaux
Margaux
5. Château Haut-Brion
Pessac, Graves
Château Ducru-Beaucaillou
Second Growth (Deuxièmes Crus)
There are 14 Second Growths:
Château
AOC/AOP
1. Château Pichon Longueville Baron
Pauillac
2. Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande
Pauillac
3. Château Léoville-Las Cases
St.-Julien
4. Château Léoville-Barton
St.-Julien
5. Château Léoville-Poyferré
St.-Julien
6. Château Ducru-Beaucaillou
St.-Julien
7. Château Gruaud-Larose
St.-Julien
8. Château Cos d'Estournel
St.-Estèphe
9. Château Montrose
St.-Estèphe
10. Château Rauzan-Ségla
Margaux
11. Château Rauzan-Gassies
Margaux
12. Château Durfort-Vivens
Margaux
13. Château Lascombes
Margaux
14. Château Brane-Cantenac
Margaux
 
Château Calon-Ségur
Third Growth (Troisièmes Crus)
There are 15 Third Growths:
Château
AOC/AOP
1. Château Lagrange
St.-Julien
2. Château Langoa
St.-Julien
3. Château Calon-Ségur
St.-Estèphe
4. Château La Lagune
Haut-Medoc
5. Château Kirwan
Margaux
6. Château d'Issan
Margaux
7. Château Giscours
Margaux
8. Château Malescot St. Exupéry
Margaux
9. Château Cantenac-Brown
Margaux
10. Château Boyd-Cantenac
Margaux
11. Château Palmer
Margaux
12. Château Desmirail
Margaux
13. Château Dubignon
Margaux
14. Château Ferrière
Margaux
15. Château Marquis d'Alesme Becker
Margaux


Fourth Growths (Quatrièmes Crus)
There are 10 Fourth Growths:
Château
AOC/AOP
1. Château Saint-Pierre
St.-Julien
2. Château Talbot
St.-Julien
3. Château Branaire-Ducru
St.-Julien
4. Château Beychevelle
St.-Julien
5. Château Lafon-Rochet
St.-Estèphe
6. Château La Tour Carnet
Haut-Medoc
7. Château Duhart-Milon
Pauillac
8. Château Pouget
Margaux
9. Château Prieuré-Lichine
Margaux
10. Château Marquis de Terme
Margaux
 
Château Batailley
Fifth Growths (Cinquièmes Crus)
There are 18 Fifth Growths:
Château
AOC/AOP
1. Château Pontet-Canet
Pauillac
2. Château Batailley
Pauillac
3. Château Haut-Batailley
Pauillac
4. Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste
Pauillac
5. Château Grand-Puy-Ducasse
Pauillac
6. Château Lynch-Bages
Pauillac
7. Château Lynch-Moussas
Pauillac
8. Château d'Armailhac
Pauillac
9. Château Haut-Bages-Libéral
Pauillac
10. Château Pédesclaux
Pauillac
11. Château Clerc-Milon
Pauillac
12. Château Croizet Bages
Pauillac
13. Château Belgrave
Haut-Médoc
14. Château Camensac
Haut-Médoc
15. Château Cantemerle
Haut-Médoc
16. Château Dauzac
Margaux
17. Château du Tertre
Margaux
18. Château Cos Labory
St.-Estèphe
The White Wines of The Gioronde
Château d'Yquem
Superior First Growth (Premier Cru Supérieur)
There is 1 Superior First Growth:
Château
AOC/AOP
Château d'Yquem
Sauternes
 
Château La Tour Blanche
First Growth (Premier Cru)
There is 11 First Growths:
Château
AOC/AOP
1. Château La Tour Blanche
Sauternes
2. Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey
Sauternes
3. Château Hau-Lafaurie-Peyraguey
Sauternes
4. Château de Rayne-Vigneau
Sauternes
5. Château Suduiraut
Sauternes
6. Château Guiraud
Sauternes
7. Château Rieusec
Sauternes
8. Château Rabaud-Promis
Sauternes
9. Château Sigalas-Rabaud
Sauternes
10. Château Coutet
Barsac
11. Château Climens
Barsac


Second Growth (Deuxièmes Crus)
There is 17 Second Growths:
1. Château D’Arche
Sauternes
2. Château Filhot
Sauternes
3. Château de Malle
Sauternes
4. Château Romer
Sauternes
5. Château de Malle
Sauternes
6. Château Romer
Sauternes
7. Château Romer du Hayot
Sauternes
8. Château Lamothe
Sauternes
9. Château Lamothe-Guignard
Sauternes
10. Château de Myrat
Barsac
11. Château Doisy Daëne
Barsac
12. Château Doisy-Dubroca
Barsac
13. Château Doisy-Védrines
Barsac
14. Château Broustet
Barsac
15. Château Nairac
Barsac
16. Château Caillou
Barsac
17. Château Suau
Barsac

The Cru Bourgeois
The Cru Bourgeois classification lists some of the châteaux from the Médoc that were not included in the 1855 Classification of Five Classed Growths or Crus Classés. In theory, the Cru Bourgeois is a level below Cru Classé.[27]
In 1931 the first Cru Bourgeois list of 444 estates was established by the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce and Chamber of Agriculture. In 2003 a new list of 247 châteaux was created with a substantial revision of the classification that divided it into three tiers. The dramatic change was protested and legally challenged by the châteaux not in included and subsequently in 2007 the list was annulled by the French court and all use of the term was banned.[28]
In 2010, the Cru Bourgeois category was reintroduced, but without the three tiers and the one level is awarded annually to the wine rather than to the châteaux (as it is for the Fives Growths), on the basis of an assessment of both production methods and the quality of the wine. Any property in the Médoc may apply and the lists are published approximately 2 years after the vintage.
Cru Artisans
In 2006 a new category was created to recognize a small group of high quality producers known as the Cru Artisans. It consists of 44 Cru Artisans families that own small 105 hectare (2.5-12.5 acre) estates that create their own wines from the vineyard to the barrel to the bottle. It is intended that the classification will be renewed every 10 years.[29]
Graves Classification
In 1953 the Graves classification system was established and later revised in 1959. The classification ranks 16 properties all of which are located in the Pessac- Léognan AOC and the bottle may be labeled either “Grand Cru Classé de Graves” or “Cru Classé de Graves”. There are 6 estates that produce red and white, 3 estates that produce white only and 7 estates that produce red only:
Cru Classé
Commune
Color
1. Château Bouscaut
Pessac-Léognan
Red and White Wine
2. Château Carbonnieux
Pessac-Léognan
Red and White Wine
3. Domaine de Chevalier
Pessac-Léognan
Red and White Wine
4. Château Haut-Brion[30]
Pessac-Léognan
Red and White Wine
5. Château Latour-Martillac
Pessac-Léognan
Red and White Wine
6. Château Malartic-Lagravière
Pessac-Léognan
Red and White Wine
7. Château Couhins
Villenave d'Ornon
White Wine
8. Château Couhins-Lurton
Villenave d'Ornon
White Wine
9. Château Laville Haut-Brion
Pessac-Léognan
White Wine
10. Château de Fieuzal
Pessac-Léognan
Red Wine
11. Château Haut-Bailly
Pessac-Léognan
Red Wine
12. Château la Mission Haut-Brion
Pessac-Léognan
Red Wine
13. Château Pape Clément
Pessac-Léognan
Red Wine
14. Château Smith Haut Lafitte
Pessac-Léognan
Red Wine
15. Château La Tour Haut-Brion
Pessac-Léognan
Red Wine

St. Emilion Classification
St. Emilion
In 1955 the original St. Emilion classification system was established with the intention that it would be revised every 10 years. It is the only classification system on the Right Bank. In the 1996 classification six properties had been elevated to the Grand Cru Classé. On July 1, 2008 the 2006 revision was declared invalid but the 6 properties that had been elevated to Grand Cru Classé classification were allowed to maintain their status thus the 1996 ranking was reinstated. In the year 2012 a new classification was released as follows
2012 St. Emilion Classification
Growths
Rankings
Number and Name of Properties
First
Premier Grand Cru Classé A
 4
1. Château Ausone
2. Château Angelus
3. Château Cheval Blanc
4. Château Pavie
Second
Premier Grand Cru Classé B
14
1. Château Beausejour Duffau-Lagarrosse
2. Château Beau-Sejour Becot
3. Château Belair-Monange
4. Château Canon
5. Château Canon La Gaffeliere
6. Château Figeac
7. Château Clos Fourtet
8. Château La Gaffeliere
9. Château Larcis Ducasse
10. Château La Mondotte
11. Château Pavie Macquin
12. Château Troplong Mondot
13. Château Trotte Vieille
14. Château Valandraud
Third
Grand Cru Classé
63
1. Château L’Arrosee
2. Château Balestard La Tonnelle
3. Château Barde Haut
4. Château Bellefont-Belcier
5. Château Bellevue
6. Château Berliquet
7. Château Cadet Bon
8. Château Cap de Mourlin
9. Château Le Chatelet
10. Château Chauvin
11. Château Clos de Sarpe
12. Château La Clotte
13. Château La Commanderie
14. Château Corbin
15. Château Côte de Baleau
16. Château La Couspaude
17. Château Dassault
18. Château Destieux
19. Château La Dominique
20. Château Faugeres
21. Château Faurie de Souchard
22. Château de Ferrand
23. Château Fleur Cardinale
24. Château La Fleur Morange
25. Château Fombrauge
26. Château Fonplegade
27. Château Fonroque
28. Château Franc Mayne
29. Château Grand Corbin
30. Château Grand Corbin Despagne
31. Château Grand Mayne
32. Château Les Grandes Murailles
33. Château Grand Pontet
34. Château Guadet
35. Château Haut Sarpe
36. Clos des Jacobins
37. Château Jean Faure
38. Château Laniote
39. Château Larmande
40. Château Laroque
41. Château Laroze
42. Château La Marzelle
43. Château Monbousquet
44. Château Moulin Du Cadet
45. Château Clos de l’Oratoire
46. Clos La Madeleine
47. Château Pavie Decesse
48. Château Peby Faugeres
49. Château Petit Faurie Soutard
50. Château de Pressac
51. Château Le Prieure
52. Château Quinault L’Enclos
53. Château Ripeau
54. Château Rochebelle
55. Château Saint Georges-Cote Pavie
56. Clos St. Martin
57. Château Sansonnet
58. Château La Serre
59. Château Soutard
60. Château Tertre Daugay
61. Château La Tour Figeac
62. Château Villemaurine
63. Château Yon-Figeac

The Bordeaux Wine Trade
The Bordeaux Wine trade consists of 4 different tiers or branches in the creation, sale and distribution of the wines of Bordeaux – Producers, Co-operatives, Brokers and Négociants.
There are 10,000 wine Producers that account for an average of 850 million bottles each year. About 60% of the Producers own their own properties (75% of all wine produced) but not all wine producers own a châteaux, of which there are approximately 5,000 across all the regions of Bordeaux.
The 40% of Producers who do not own their own property work through the 53 Co-operatives who work in a technical capacity for their members, offering vinification, blending and packaging facilities.
There are 130 Brokers (“courtiers”) who work as an intermediary between the producers and the négociants, matching supply and demand, advising and conciliating between the two parties. Brokers work as guarantors to the supply contracts and monitor the quality of the wine through its period of maturation, ensuring that the finished product corresponds to the buying samples. They are paid by commission (“courtage”), normally set at 2% and paid by the buyer.
There are 400 négociants (known generically as “la place”) who serve as a merchant house, selling wines made at estates or commercial brands. The latter is sourced from producers or co-operatives, usually as wine, and matured by the négociant before blending, bottling and sale. One that undertakes that process is known as a “négociant-éléveur”. Although there are almost 400 registered négociants, nearly 90% of the profession’s business is accounted for by about 25 firms. The sector is responsible for selling 75% of all Bordeaux's production to more than 160 different countries.[31]
Many of the wines are sold on the futures market (en primeur) in which the wine is sold while it is still in barrel prior to bottling. Payment is made at an early stage, a year or 18 months prior to the official release of a vintage. A possible advantage of buying wines en primeur is that the wines may be considerably cheaper during the en primeur period than they will be once bottled and released on the market. However, that is not guaranteed and some wines may lose value over time.[32]
Wines Tasted
The following wines were tasted in the French Wine Scholar class:
1. 2012 L’Avocat Graves Blanc

This wine is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. It is a clear white wine straw/pale lemon in color, star bright with medium viscosity. On the nose it is clean with subtle intense aromas of grapefruit pith, white flowers, and white stone. On the palate it has flavors of lemon with a hint of peanut shell, it is dry with medium+ acidity, with a somewhat soft and round mid-palate with a waxy feel and a moderate length finish. This wine sells for $15
2. 2011 Bellevue-La Randee Bordeaux

An opaque red wine, dark ruby at the core with minimal variation at the rim with medium viscosity and staining tears. On the nose it is clean with moderate intense aromas of black currants, dusty black berries, with a hint of graphite and black olive. On the palate it is dry with moderate tannins, medium acidity and a moderate length finish. This wine sells for $11.
3. 2009 Chateau de Chantegrive Rouge Pessac-Leognan

An opaque red wine, dark ruby at the core with a touch of garnet around the rim and moderate viscosity. On the nose it has moderate intense aromas of dusty black cherries, cocoa, a hint of mint and herbs, tobacco, tar and smoke. On the palate it is dry with moderate tannins, medium acidity, and a moderate length finish. This wine sells for $20.
4. 2009 Chateau Paloumey Haut-Medoc

An opaque red wine, dark ruby at the core with a hint of garnet at the rim with staining tears. On the nose it is clean with moderate intense aromas of cassis, ripe cherries, hints of black olive and graphite. On the palate it is dry but fruit forward with moderate tannins, medium acidity, and a medium+ length finish. A great vintage so although it is only $24 it is really a great buy.
5. 2012 Chateau Langoa-Barton St. Julien
An opaque red wine, dark ruby at the core with medium+ viscosity and staining tears. On the nose it is clean with moderate aromas of cassis, ripe blackberries, dark chocolate, black olive, graphite, and vanilla. On the palate it is dry, fruit forward with “sweet” flavors of blackberry pie and vanilla almost “new world” in style, it has medium+ refined tannins and a medium+ length finish. This wine sells for $50.
6. 2012 Barde-Haut St. Emilion Grand Cru

An opaque red wine, dark ruby at the core with medium+ viscosity and staining tears. On the nose it is clean with moderate aromas of cassis, chocolate covered cherries, ripe blackberries, minor touch of vanilla. On the palate it is dry but fruit forward with refined medium+ tannins, medium acidity and a moderate length finish. This wine sells for $29.
7. 2009 Chateau du Tertre Margaux
An opaque red wine, dark ruby at the core with medium+ viscosity and slightly staining tears. On the nose it is clean with moderate aromas of stewed plums, dried meats, tar, tobacco, licorice, canned black pepper, with hints of funk due to “Brett” and just a touch of grilled asparagus. On the palate it is dry with refined medium+ tannins, medium acidity, medium body and a moderate length earthy finish. This wine sells for $50.
8. 2005 Guiraud Sauternes

A clear golden wine with high viscosity. On the nose pronounced aromas of orange marmalade, caramelized canned peaches, graham cracker, honey and just a hint of clove. On the palate it is luscious sweet with high acidity and yet it is still somewhat viscous on the palate with a medium+ length finish. This wine sells for $50.


[1] Coulure is the dropping of flowers that results in the failure of grapes to develop. Millerandage is also causes by poor weather during flowering and it causes grape bunches to contain berries that differ greatly in size and, most importantly, maturity.
[2] Julien Camus, Lisa M. Airey, Celine Camus (ed), French Wine Scholar Study Manual (French Wine Society), 173.
[3] Julien Camus, Lisa M. Airey, Celine Camus (ed), French Wine Scholar Study Manual (French Wine Society), 176.
[5]  Jancis Robinson, The Oxford Companion to Wine (3rd Edition, Oxford University Press, 2006), 280-284
[6] David Peppercorn, Bordeaux (London: Mitchell Beazley, 2003), 240–284.
[7] Hugh Johnson, World Atlas of Wine (4th ed.) (London: Octopus Publishing Group Ltd., 1994), 82-89.
[8] Oz Clarke, Oz Clarke’s New Essential Wine Book (3rd ed.) (New York: Websters International Publishers and Octopus Publishing Group, 2005), 45; Hugh Johnson, World Atlas of Wine (4th ed.) (London: Octopus Publishing Group Ltd., 1994), 83-94.
[10] Jancis Robinson, The Oxford Companion to Wine (3rd Edition, Oxford University Press, 2006), 71.
[11] Jancis Robinson, The Oxford Companion to Wine (3rd Edition, Oxford University Press, 2006), 325.
[12] Julien Camus, Lisa M. Airey, Celine Camus (ed), French Wine Scholar Study Manual (French Wine Society), 183.
[19] Julien Camus, Lisa M. Airey, Celine Camus (ed), French Wine Scholar Study Manual (French Wine Society), 184.
[21] Julien Camus, Lisa M. Airey, Celine Camus (ed), French Wine Scholar Study Manual (French Wine Society), 185.
[22] Julien Camus, Lisa M. Airey, Celine Camus (ed), French Wine Scholar Study Manual (French Wine Society), 184.
[24] Julien Camus, Lisa M. Airey, Celine Camus (ed), French Wine Scholar Study Manual (French Wine Society), 185.
[25] Julien Camus, Lisa M. Airey, Celine Camus (ed), French Wine Scholar Study Manual (French Wine Society), 185.
[26] David Peppercorn, Bordeaux (London: Mitchell Beazley, 2003), 83.
[27] Hugh Johnson, World Atlas of Wine (4th ed.) (London: Octopus Publishing Group Ltd., 1994), 81.
[28]9. Julien Camus, Lisa M. Airey, Celine Camus (ed), French Wine Scholar Study Manual (Fre10.nch Wine Society), 186.
[29] For a11. listing of the ‘Cru Artisans’ see: http://www.bbr.com/wine-knowledge/2006-medoc-clas 12.
[30] Also rated as a Premier Cru in the Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855.
[32] Tom Stevenson, The Sotheby Wine Encyclopedia (5th Edition, Sands Publishing, 2011), 66.

No comments:

Post a Comment