There’s no denying that Bordeaux is the biggest fine wine district on earth. Its produce has always been a status symbol, relished by the most regal palates in the history. With an interesting past, narrated by poets and scholars like Pliny the Elder, and Ausonius, the UNESCO World Heritage Cities of St Emilion and Bordeaux, and the renaissance, there’s a lot Bordeaux has to offer, but nothing moves the region the way its wines do.
UNDERSTANDING BORDEAUX WINES
Bordeaux is a vast area, encompassing overlapping regions, areas, communes, and glamorous estates and chateaus on each side of the Gironde Estuary. Its waters split the region into the Right and the Left bank. It features Saint Emilion and Pomerol in the former, and the famed Medoc and Graves in the latter. What lies between its Garonne and Dordogne rivers is the exciting Entre-Deux-Mers . The romance of Bordeaux’s wine-style is in the pleathora of its variety. More than 7000 producers play with the two principle grapes – Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Chasing the most polished tannins, oak regimen, moderate alcohol, and longevity is the key. All that, without diverting from its typicity and flavours. How intricately interwoven is the play of climate, soil, location, and producer’s craft is the judge of a wine.
IN BORDEAUX, CLIMATE MATTERS
BORDEAUX WINES – A STUDY IN SOILS
DECODING BORADEAUX APPELLATION
BORDEAUX – WHERE MAPS DON’T WORK
MISLEADING NOMENCLATURE – A HISTORIC MISTAKE
An AOC can pertain to a region (Graves), or commune (St Estephe). This is where its importance comes in to consideration. Graves is a bigger region and within it falls the commune of Pessac-Léognan. Lauded for its premium reds, Pessac-Léognan has a smaller geographical expanse. And an even smaller commune of Sauternes, the famed sweet drops, features within Graves. At times, it can be confusing whether the appellation is regional or communal. However, understanding the wine in the glass is easier, once that’s deciphered. And, its appreciation grows manifolds as well.
GRAND CRU WINES – STUDY IN ITS OWN
Not all regions or communes have Grand Crus, and if they do, they have ‘Classe’ attached as a suffix. For instance, it is notable to not confuse Saint Emilion Grand Cru AOC with St Emilion Grand Cru Classe. One is an appellation, the other a ranking within the appellation. The Grand Crus wines from Medoc and Graves, are highly coveted labels. Decades of hard work earns it . Do know they’re unofficially rated and not governed by the AOC system. These wines can fetch easily over INR1,50,000 and upwards for a bottle in India! While Saint Emilion Grand Cru AOC is an official appellation demanding INR2500 and upwards at a restaurant. Don’t let the term ‘Grand Cru’ create false illusions of quality for you. Professionals don’t help either, often confusingly using Grand Crus and Grand Cru Classe interchangeably, raising further doubts for the consumers.