A Roman stronghold before becoming English for two centuries, Guyenne underwent numerous influences. Appearing in the 1st century A.D., the vineyard experienced major growth under English domination. At that time, the name of the wine was "claret". The vineyard of Bordeaux: Nowadays the vineyard of Bordeaux covers practically the entire département of Gironde. Crus with very specific characteristics are spread along the River Garonne. On the left bank, the large ensemble is composed of Sauternais, Graves and Médoc. On the right bank, we find the regions of Libournais-Blayais and Entre-deux-mers. The vineyard of Bordeaux comprises 115,000 hectares (ha) and 57 AOC. Terroirs and Bordeaux grape varieties: the soil of Gironde, which is very diverse in its nature, often produces its red wines on sandy gravel sediments. Their white wines come from chalky, silt or molasse alluvial sheets. The climate is oceanic with occasional springtime frosts. It produces wines from different grape varieties, the main ones being Cabernet, Merlot, Sémillon and Sauvignon.Wines from Bordeaux
Located in the north of the département, on a thin strip of land which extends along the right bank of the River Garonne, Médoc only produces red wine. Its clay, silt and hard limestone subsoil covered with pebbles produces sappy, expressive wines with a fine bouquet. The properties are characterised by their large scale, in contrast to the Libournais. The Médoc comprises 60 grands crus classés and 236 crus bourgeois. The vineyard is shared between A.O.C Médoc (whereas one part carries the Haut-Médoc appellation) and the very prestigious appellations of the municipalities of Margaux, Saint-Estèphe, Pauillac and Saint Julien as well as those of the less well-known Moulis and Listrac, which are currently experiencing interesting developments.
Located on the right bank of the Dordogne, this vineyard includes several appellations, some of which are amongst the most prestigious of Bordeaux wines: Canon Fronsac, Côtes de Castillon, Fronsac, Lalande de Pomerol, Lussac Saint-Emilion, Pomerol, Puisseguin Saint-Emilion, Saint-Emilion and finally Saint-Georges Saint-Emilion. This region, which borders on the Dordogne, is known for dividing its vineyard into a multitude of small properties. Amongst the grape varieties used, the dominant Merlot gives the wines their fruitiness and finesse. It is generally blended with Cabernet Franc.
Located between the Garonne and the Dordogne (the region takes its name from the fact that the tide rises about 150 km in both rivers), Entre-Deux-Mers is the largest wine-producing region of Bordeaux. It comprises above all the A.O.C. Entre-Deux-Mers, Sainte-Foy Bordeaux, Premières Côtes de Bordeaux, Loupiac, Cadillac and Sainte-Croix du Monts.
To the south of Graves, this region comprises the wines produced in five municipalities (Barsac, Bommes, Fargues, Preignac and Sauternes). It includes the Sauternes and Barsac appellations. Like for the white Graves, the grape varieties used are SÃ©millon, Sauvignon and Muscadelle. In the Sauternes region, the soil is gravelly whereas it is clayey-limestone in Barsac. The Ciron, a cold river which crosses the region, plays a significant role due to the fog it creates. This favours the development of the famous Botrytis cinirea, or "noble rot", the origin of a complex chemical phenomena which increases the content of grape sugars and gives the wine its unique flavour. The harvest, done grain by grain, with successive sorting, produces a deliberately limited yield. The wines produced have a magnificent golden hue. Sauternes are smooth, unctuous, powerful and very perfumed. They generally develop aromas of honey, acacia and lime. The less concentrated and very delicate Barsac have a lighter hue.
The region of Graves is, in Bordeaux, the only one which has the same name as the soil which characterises it: well drained pebbles. This vast area, with an even older wine-growing tradition than that of Médoc, extends over the left bank of the Garonne, and enjoys a favourable climate. It produces red wines, from the Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot grape varieties, and white wines from the Sauvignon, Sémillon and Muscadelle grape varieties. The best wines of the Graves region come from the Pessac-Léognan appellation, located in the north. It is from this appellation, which is recent as it appeared with its 1986 vintage, that the famous châteaux Haut-Brion, Pape Clément, Mission-Haut-Brion emerged...