Wine travel – Bordeaux

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Overview

Bordeaux is a port city in southwest of France, with approximately one million inhabitants in its metropolitan area. It is the capital of the Aquitaine region, as well as the prefecture of the Gironde department. Its inhabitants are called Bordelais.

With a population of 1,200,000 inhabitants in the Bordeaux-Arcachon-Libourne metropolitan area, the fifth metropolitan area in France is known to be the world’s wine industry capital,

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and it is considered Europe’s main military space and aeronautics research and construction complex. Bordeaux wine draws its name from the city around which it has been produced since the 8th century. The historic part of the city is on the UNESCO World Heritage List as “an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble” of the 18th century.

The wines

Bordeaux has about 117,000 hectares of vineyards, 57 appellations, 9,000 wine-producing châteaux, 13,000 grape growers, 400 traders and sales of 14.5 billion euros annually. With an annual production of over 700 million bottles, Bordeaux produces large quantities of everyday wine as well as some of the most expensive wines in the world.

Included among the latter are the area’s five ‘premier cru’ (first growth) red wines (four from Médoc and one, Chateau Haut-Brion, from Graves), established by the Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855: The first growths are:

  • Château Lafite-Rothschild
  • Château Margaux
  • Château Latour
  • Château Haut-Brion
  • Château Mouton-Rothschild

    Both red and white wines are made in Bordeaux. Red Bordeaux is called claret in the United Kingdom. Red wines are generally made from a blend of grapes, and may be made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and, less commonly in recent years, Carmenere. White Bordeaux is made from Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Muscadelle. Sauternes is a subregion of Graves known for its intensely sweet, white, dessert wines such as Château d’Yquem.

    Because of the wine glut (wine lake), the price squeeze caused by increasingly strong international competition, and vine pull schemes, the number of growers has recently dropped from 14,000 and the area under vine has also decreased significantly.

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    Putting the X in Bordeaux Guy Woodward

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