Sainte-Foy-Bordeaux, Serving Wine and Seuil
The ancient walled town of Sainte-Foy-La-Grande was founded in 1255 by Alphonse de Poitiers, a brother of Saint Louis, to protea its inhabitants from frequent invasions by the English. Though Sainte-Foy-La-Grande has never produced a drop of wine, it has given its name to this appellation. The town has played a role in the wine trade thanks to its location next to the Dordogne river, which has allowed the transport of many types of goods including wine from the hinterland.
As this appellation requires specific grape varieties and stricter production conditions than those of the Bordeaux AOC, most of the region’s growers prefer to use the Bordeaux appellation.
Saint-Julien and Sainte Croix du Mont Bordeaux Wines
Saint-Julien (A.O.C.) Bordeaux Wine
The Saint-Julien parish has existed since the seventh century according to some historians, the eighth according to others. In its early days the parish was in the archdiocese of Moulis. Known as Saint-Julien-de-Reignac, the commune changed its name to Saint-Julien-Beychevelle in the first half of the twentieth century, adding the name of the small port and hamlet whose activity contributed to the wine’s fame. During the seventeenth century a few aristocrats and well- informed owners discovered the terroirs exceptional wine-growing potential.
This commune, practically in the center of the Haut-Médoc, is separated from Cussac in the south by marshland created by two streams originating in the Saint-Laurent region. Rising up from the Beychevelle marsh is the attractive gravelly crest of Beychevelle, and on the north-east is the Saint-Julien hilltop, separated from Pauillac by the Juillac stream.
Saint-Émilion and Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Bordeaux Wines
SAINT-ÉMILION & SAINT-ÉMILION GRAND CRU (A.O.C.)
Known as much for its architecture as for the excellence of its wines, Saint-Émilion dates from the Middle Ages. An interesting and unusual town, it has been listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO, it is a jewel-box of old stone, built on a picturesque half-circle of hills facing the Dordogne valley. Its steep and narrow streets, its Roman and Gothic churches, its convents and cloisters all point to its prestigious past.
The main monuments still visible are the grotto of the hermit, Saint-Émilion, which faces the remains of his disciples’ monastery; the catacombs; and, next to these, the monolithic church, one of France’s largest underground churches.
Saint-Estephe and Saint Georges Bordeaux Wines
Saint-Estéphe (A.O.C.) BORDEAUX WINE
The commune’s first known activity dates from the Middle Bronze Age, and its first vines were planted during the Roman occupation. As with other privileged wine-growing communes of the Medoc, Bordeaux wine merchants have played a key role in establishing the region’s reputation by storing and promoting the sale of its wines. The main estates were created in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Today, small and medium-sized estates are again being grouped to create larger properties.
This hilly region’s gravelly out-crops, consisting of quartz and stone mixed with light and sandy soil, have excellent natural drainage. This is reinforced in the south by the Saint-Vincent channel, which takes the water of the Lafite marsh to the estuary, and in the north by the Mappon canal, which carries the water of the Vertheuil marsh.
Puisseguin Saint-Emilion, Puygueraud and Rame Bordeaux Wines
Puisseguin-Saint-Émilion (A.O.C.) Bordeaux Wine
Perched on a natural hill, the Puisseguin commune owes its name to the word puy, meaning mount, and Séguin, one of Charlemagne’s lieutenants who had a chateau built on this strategic site. It was during the eighteenth century that Puisseguin’s economy began to rely largely on wine-growing and winemaking. Pierre Combret, a pioneer in wine-growing agronomy, intro-duced the use of grape varieties known as “noble” and made the most of this terroirs qualities. Many others followed suit. The commune’s future was thus assured and Puisseguin earned its place in Bordeaux wine-growing history.
Situated at an altitude of 89 meters, Puisseguin’s vineyards enjoy a mainly south- south-east exposure and a dry, bright, almost Mediterranean microclimate—proved by the presence of many holm oaks. Its hilly terrain of clay-limestone soil on a rocky subsoil provides good drainage and allows the vines to develop deep roots which draw out elements essential to the plants’ development. Nearly eighty properties make up this appellation*, including Chateaux Teillac, Guibeau-la-Fourvieille, Roc de Bernon, and Grand-Rigaud.
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