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Oenology

Deciphering the appellations of the Bordeaux vineyard

11 December 2018

Bordeaux owes its distinction as the first AOC vineyard in France to the great diversity of its high quality terroirs. There is in this wide range of fine wines something to delight all lovers, for all occasions and in a wide range of prices.

Bordeaux owes its distinction as the first AOC vineyard in France to the great diversity of its high quality terroirs. There is in this wide range of fine wines something to delight all lovers, for all occasions and in a wide range of prices.

FAMILIES AND NAMES

It is from the geographical factors and the wine styles produced that the six families of Bordeaux wines are defined : Bordeaux and Bordeaux, Graves and Sauternes, Entre-Deux-Mers, Libournais, Blaye and Bourg and the Medoc. The Bordeaux vineyard counts no less than 47 AOC spread over all six families in the region, on the left and right bank of the Gironde. The main red varieties are Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. The most important part of the white varieties are Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle.

CLASSIFICATIONS

Bordeaux, inaugurates the notion of classification as early as 1855 under Napoleon III, synonymous with quality and prestige throughout the world. The principle of classified growth illustrates perfectly the synthesis of the typicity of a terroir and the work of men over several generations in the service of quality.

There are several rankings in Gironde, presented in order of seniority :

The Grands Crus grading of 1855, which includes only the Médoc red wines, the sweet white wines of Sauternes and Barsac and a red cru des Graves. It is based on the reputation of wines and transaction prices.

The classification of Graves, which groups 16 Crus Classés, was established at the request of the Defense of the Graves appellation association and was set up by the National Institute of Appellations of Origin (INAO) in 1953. It is organized by municipality and type of wine : red or white.

The classification of Saint-Emilion was born at the request of the Union of defense of the appellation Saint-Émilion and was set up by the INAO in 1954. The decree specifies that the INAO must proceed every ten years to the revision of this classification. Since 1954, 6 classifications have been made.

The classification of the Crus Bourgeois du Médoc was established in 1932 : the crus bourgeois are listed by Bordeaux brokers, under the auspices of the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber of Agriculture of Gironde. The criteria for this ranking are the quality and value of the red wines produced in one of the eight Médoc appellations : Médoc, Haut-Médoc, Listrac, Moulis, Margaux, Saint-Julien, Pauillac and Saint-Estèphe.

The classification of Crus Artisans en Médoc includes 44 Crus. The name “Crus Artisans” has existed for more than 150 years : these small vineyard properties often belonged to craftsmen: coopers, wheelwrights or blacksmith. This distinction is reborn in 1989 with the creation of the Union of Cru Artisans du Médoc. This ranking is based on the quality and value of wines produced in small properties (less than 5 hectares) in one of the eight Médoc appellations : Médoc, Haut-Médoc, Listrac, Moulis, Margaux, Saint-Julien, Pauillac and Saint-Estèphe.

Source : https://www.bordeaux.com/gb/

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