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Bordeaux

Description

Bordeaux is the largest appellation region in France, in terms of both volume and value. It is home to many of the most prestigious names in fine wine. However, these wines only represent a tiny proportion of total production and there is a massive gap between the resources available to a few very wealthy producers and the vast majority of growers and producers.
Michelle Ames
Flashcards by Michelle Ames, updated more than 1 year ago
Michelle Ames
Created by Michelle Ames almost 4 years ago
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Resource summary

Question Answer
What is the climate of Bordeaux? Moderate maritime.
What are some geological features that influence the climate in Bordeaux? The Gulf Stream, with is tempered thanks to the protective barrier formed by the Landes Forest along the western coast.
What are the climate hazards of Bordeaux and how are they mitigated? The main hazard is rainfall. Differences in vintage quality can be prevented by 1) rejecting unhealthy and unripe grapes at harvest, and 2) canopy management for healthier grapes with more sugar and flavour development.
How many grape varieties are allowed under appellation regulations in Bordeaux? Thirteen.
What are the significant white grapes of Bordeaux? Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle.
What are the significant red grapes of Bordeaux? Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Malbec and Carmenere are planted in much smaller quanities.
What are the five main styles of wine from Bordeaux, or order of quantity? 1. Basic reds. Usually based on Merlot. 2. Higher-end Right Bank reds. 3. Higher-end Left Bank reds. Expensive and 'world's finest'. 4. Dry white wines. 5. Sweet white wines.
Why are most wines in Bordeaux made from blends? The variability in weather makes it risky to rely too heavily on one variety. Different varieties flower and ripen at different times, so a bad frost or heavy shower won't ruin an entire crop.
Which principal districts make up the Right Bank? Saint-Emilion and Pomerol.
Which districts make up the Left Bank? Medoc, Graves and Sauternes.
What is the area between the Dordogne and the Garonne rivers, and what style of wine is produced there? Entre-Deux-Mers. Dry white wine; typically Sauvignon Blanc in an unoaked style.
What is the difference between Bordeaux rose and Clairet? Rose is fresh and fruity, while Clairet undergoes longer maceration which makes it deeper in colour and fuller in body.
What is White Bordeaux typically made from? Sauvignon Blanc which shows a vibrant, grassy character.
Describe the premium white wines of Pessac-Leognan. They are typically a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, fermented and/or matured at least partially in new oak, producing wines with medium to full body and toasty oak flavours.
What techniques are used to create sweet wines in Bordeaux? Noble rot, and passerillage (in years with little rot infection).
Which two districts are most known for their sweet wines? Sauternes and Barsac.
Which is the only district of Bordeaux that lies within France's appellation system? Saint-Emilion. Grand Cru Classe --> Premier Grand Cru Classe B --> Premier Grand Cru Classe A (Only 4 Cht. as of 2012). Must be reclassified every 10 years.
According to the 1855 Classification, which Chateaux hold the top rank (First Growths)? Medoc (out of 5): Ch. Lafite Rothschild, Latour, Margaux, Mouton-Rothschild*. Graves (out of 5): Ch. Haut-Brion. Sauternes (out of 3): Ch. d'Yquem. *Moved up in 1973.
Why do no Right Bank wines appear in the Classification of 1855? The classification was essentially a listing of chateaux by the price their wines brought to the market, which, in this case, proved an accurate indicator of quality. At the time Right Bank wines did not command as much prestige, so they were excluded from rankings entirely.
What is an argument for and against the 1855 Classification system? Pro: Even today the list would not require extensive changes, although some Second Growths would probably be moved up. Con: The ranking is for the chateaux and not vineyards. It is a reflection of producer reputation more so than terroir, which has changed over time.
What is cru bourgeois? A list of chateaux in the Medoc making quality wine that were left off the 1855 Classification. Proposals for a three tier ranking to be renewed every 5 years are currently being developed.
What is the difference between cru classe and cru bourgeois? Crus classes were developed with the 1855 Classification and apply to chateaux. Crus bourgeois are awarded only to a single vintage, so wines must be submitted every year to gain this status.
What is cru artisan? A term for small, family-owned estates in the Medoc. Used in Bordeaux since the 19th century and recognised by the EU in 1994. Must be reevaluated every 10 years.
Describe the wines of Medoc. These wines tend to have a higher proportion of Merlot in the blend compared to the south, and are typically made for early drinking.
Name the four 'communes' of Haut-Medoc with the highest reputations for producing premium wines. Saint-Estephe, Pauillac, Saint-Julien, and Margaux.
What is 'vins de garage'? A name given to wines associated to the Right Bank which are full-bodied and incredibly ripe, made in tiny quantities from small plots of land.
What year was the AOC Cotes de Bordeaux created and why? In 2009 to combine some of the more disjointed regions into a more commercially useful banner (e.g. being able to put Bordeaux on the label).
What are the appellations of Cotes de Bordeaux, and what style of wine do they produce? Blaye, Cadillac, Castillon and Francs. The wines are Merlot based and meant for early drinking. The best examples are great value for money.
Of all French AOC-level production, how much do Bordeaux wines account for? One-fourth. Almost all of Bordeaux's production qualifies for AOC status.
What is the difference between Bordeaux AOC and Bordeaux Superieur AOC? The latter has slightly higher standards, including lower yields, higher minimum grape ripeness at harvest, and a 1/2 degree higher minimum alcohol.
Wines classified under Bordeaux AOC, Bordeaux Superieur AOC and Cremant de Bordeaux AOC account for how much of Bordeaux's total production? Approximately 55%.
What is the 'en primeur' system? Selling wine 'in futures'. Most top Bordeaux is sold several years before it is bottled and long before it's drinkable. This provides needed cash flow to the chateaux, as well as a potential price break for brokers and retailers.
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