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Rediscovering the value of Bordeaux’s second grapes

While Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot will rule Bordeaux for the foreseeable, producers are rediscovering the value of the traditional secondary varieties, used as seasoning to add complexity and to adapt in an age of global warming. James Lawther MW reports.

Bordeaux may be a Merlot-Cabernet-centric region, but a smattering of other red varieties subsist alongside. Look at the figures: Merlot accounts for 66% of the region’s red plantings, Cabernet Sauvignon 22% and Cabernet Franc 9%, leaving a meagre 3% of ‘other red varieties’. For these read: Carmenère, Malbec and Petit Verdot. While not exactly household names – though still officially authorised and very much part of the region’s DNA – these three secondary varieties are belatedly stirring interest as growers rediscover their potential as a single variety or as a component in a blend.


Lawther’s pick: Bordeaux with a different accent


See also: What does Petit Verdot add to a wine? Ask Decanter 

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