Winecast: Bordeaux, Part I

Winecast: Bordeaux, Part I

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Language: English

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hello everyone and welcome to the wine cast this cast will be about Bordeaux and because there's a lot about Bordeaux to cover I'll be breaking it into two parts part 1 will be about getting you the lay of the land as well as some information about the kinds of wines that Bordeaux produces in part two we'll talk about some of the classification systems that are out there exclusively for Bordeaux wines including one very famous one the 1855 classification in this caste and in part two we'll be using terms related to French wine Appalachians like AOC and IGP and if
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those terms aren't familiar to you feel free to take a look at the cast on French wine quality classification for a quick primer or brush up as the case may be so let's get started by talking about the geography of Bordeaux here's a map showing where Bordeaux is located in France you can see it in the upper right hand corner and then a larger map showing the whole Bordeaux AOC with its various sub AOC s the most important geographical features to start with are the three rivers that flow through the
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area the door done the Garonne and the gironde which is really more of an estuary that both the other rivers flow into and then it flows into the Atlantic Ocean if you're travelling down the door dun River toward the ocean the area to your right is called the right bank and if you've heard about right bank Bordeaux wines what people mean when they use that term is that the wine came from this area though in practice they're probably referring to a wine that came from a small part of this
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region around the city of leborgne which is this dot over here and they're referring to wine coming from this patchwork of Appalachians that surround that city if you're headed down the Garron and also the gironde then the area to your left is called the left bank and that's where left bank wines come from both the right and left banks are known primarily for their dry red wines and that's usually what people have in mind when they talk about a left or right bank wine however the southern
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half of the left bank is also known as a producer of quality dry white wines and have some very famous sweet white wines so what about the area between the two banks this wedge-shaped area is called entre dumare which means between two seas that's kind of odd because if it's between two of anything it's between two rivers and Nazis well go figure I suppose entre deux Mayer has a low elevation relative to the two banks and lots of fertile soil and both of those conditions aren't usually
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considered particularly good for producing quality wine and entre deux Mayer is generally not highly regarded for its production of red wines though it has some areas that can produce good quality dry and sweet white wines let's get back to the left bank for a bit it can be subdivided into two areas let's start with the northern one called the mid dock that whole area can be split in half as well the most important part of this area is the part represented in pink and by the number two as well as all of the little sub Appalachians that
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are lying on top of it this is the O made oak or the upper may dock because of its high elevation relative to the regular Madoc represented by the number one as you can see the O made dock is divided into smaller village or communal appellations numbers three four five six seven and eight and being from any of these Appalachians generally gives wine a bump in quality as opposed to being classified as just a wine from the home a dock this is red wine country and all of the Appalachians that this area's
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subdivided into are geared toward producing red wines white wine can be produced here but if it is it can't be awarded anything more prestigious than the basic Bordeaux AOC appellation if we go down a little to just south of the city of Bordeaux we'll find the next major area that the left bank is divided into Grove definitely say Grove and not graves and as a way to remember the pronunciation just know that the name refers to the gravelly soils in the area Groff is known for its reds and dry whites and
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there's a sub area of Grove called Pesach Lyon Yan that's especially well regarded when it comes to both of these wine styles basically onion is a relatively new appellation it was created in 1987 when the most renowned producer Groff who all happened to be from the northern part of this area wanted their own appellation to distinguish themselves from what they perceived to be lesser quality producers in the south so broadly speaking a red or white wine with Pesach Leone on on the label versus Groff on the label is seen as a move up
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the quality scale not down at the south end of Gras for three Appalachians that are designated to produce sweet white wines going from number thirty-five to number 37 they are say wrong Barsac and so Terran and of the three Barsac and so Terran numbers 36 and 37 are the most highly regarded moving over to the right bank the area with probably the best reputation for qualities the appellation of Santa menial and its satellite Appalachians that usually have something Lyon in their name nearby or to other
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areas known for quality Pomerol and Fronsac all three of these areas are almost exclusively red wine producing areas so what's in that bottle of Bordeaux you to spot well if it's a red than some combination of as many as six possible grapes Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Cabernet Franc Malbec Petit Verdot and very rarely anymore a grape called Carmenere Carmenere was more common in Bordeaux blends during the 19th century
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but when Falak Syrah an aphid that caused massive damage to grapevines struck this area producers had to pull up their vines and then decide what varietals they were going to replant Carmenere didn't do so well in this process with many producers deciding that they didn't need it to create the blends they were looking for speaking of blends that's really what you're getting when you buy a Bordeaux unlike in the US where wines tend to get marketed as single varietal production such as Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Chardonnay blending two or more grapes
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is the order of the day throughout much of France and Europe what you're also most likely going to get is a red with red wine making up just shy of 90 percent of Bordeaux's total production if you do get a white it'll likely be some combination of Sauvignon Blanc and Semyon with the possibility of a few other varieties as well whites make up around 10% of total Bordeaux production with the remaining couple of percents taken up by roses and sparkling wines which are called Cremant on the left
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bank Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant grape and blends while on the right bank blends tend to be driven by Merlot overall Merlot is a bigger player than cab solved though with blends from the right bank sometimes having as much as 85% or more Merlot and then adding some Cabernet Franc and then maybe a little bit of Cabernet Sauvignon by contrast though Reds on the left bank tend to feature a majority of caps off it's rare to see a right bank red with as much as
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75% of the blend being Cabernet Sauvignon and then the next largest blending partner will usually be Merlot dry Bordeaux whites are driven by soft Blanc with a few of them having a hundred percent of that grape but many having some semi on as well and a few other varietals that equation is flipped for the sweet wines so let's call it a day for part one of this cast and in part two we can talk about the different ways that some Bordeaux producers are classified apart from the AOC system
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including the famous classification of 1855 that cast will be up shortly so be on the lookout for it or better yet subscribe please leave a comment or like if you enjoyed this cast or found it helpful I'd really love to hear from you I'm the unknown wine caster and I'm out enjoy the grape but always enjoy it responsibly

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