No other name of wine is so well known throughout the world, nor does any other area deliver so many top class wines year on year as Bordeaux. The names of Mouton-Rothschild, Lafite-Rothschild, Petrus, and Yquem resound around the world like the intangible dreams of children. The top-quality Bordeaux wines enjoy a status all of their own. This stands out far above the other French wines but is also sometimes more elevated than the reality. Whether this is truly deserved is open to question.
The vineyards of Bordeaux are sited in the French department of the Gironde, that derives its name from the estuaries of the Garonne and Dordogne rivers. The French wine-growing area does not extend to the entire department, although this is officially permitted. Not every piece of land is suitable for cultivating vines (woodland, urban areas, and arable land for maize, and tobacco). The climate of Bordeaux is very mild thanks to the presence of water in the rivers, the Gironde, and the Atlantic Ocean. Bordeaux winters are generally mild, spring comes early with abundant rain, summer is hot and mainly dry, while autumn is often calm and sunny.
This means that the vines get the right amounts of water and sun. That such perfection does not always occur is shown by the 1956 winter that was exceptionally cold, when almost all the vines were killed by frost, and also by the frequent flooding of the Garonne and Dordogne rivers.
The generic AC appellations for Boredeaux Wines
Our journey begins on the borders of Bergerac and Duras but before we look at the local or communal appellations, first let is consider the generic appellations. These French wines may be produced anywhere within the defined area of Bordeaux wines.
BORDEAUX BLANC SEC WNE
It may surprise many people but two centuries ago ten times as much white Bordeaux wine was produced as red wine. The quality of dry white Bordeaux is in the mean time significantly improved. This is partially due to the complete replacement of most wine-making equipment, even by the cooperatives which produce the largest volumes. Dry much smaller than for the 'ordinary' Bordeaux red at approximately 8,000 hectares. Bordeaux Superieur is slightly higher in alcohol, has a lower output per hectare, and may not be sold until it is a year old. Most of these French wines are characteristic of the region and generally keep well. Drinking temperature for Bordeaux French wine: 16°C (60.8°F).
BORDEAUX BLANC SUPERIEUR/BORDEAUX BLANC MOELLEUX WINE
These French wines are always medium sweet (doux meaning soft and moelleux meaning mellow). They are made in modest volume (only accounting for about 2% of sales) yet surprising quantities of this French wine can be found on supermarket shelves. Genuine Bordeaux Blanc Moelleux is a wonderful, almost unctuous wine, having a bouquet with floral notes, and of peach, apricot, and pineapple. Drinking temperature for Bordeaux Blanc Superieur/Blanc Moelleux French wine: 8°C (46.4°F).
CREMANT DE BORDEAUX WINE
The excellent Cremants de Bordeaux are made by the traditional method for a French wine. The combination of typical Bordeaux grape varieties and Champagne-style vinification have exceptional results. The white and rose Cremants de Bordeaux are known especially for their freshness , elegant mousse or foam, and their pleasing fruitiness . Drink this Cremant de Boredeaux French wine at: 6-8°C (42.8-46.4°F) .