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WSET L3 - Bordeaux
Terms in this set (33)
Climate of Bordeaux
Moderate maritime, benefits from Gulf Stream. Warming ocean current extends the growing season, but brings high rainfall and humidity. Vineyards protected fron the worst by the Landes Forrest and coastal sand dunes to the west.
Main Black grapes of Bordeaux
Petit Verdot (very small amount)
Main white varieties in Bordeaux
Muscadelle (small percentage)
Left bank regions
Right bank regions
Dominates in Left Bank - Haut-Médoc, Bas-Medoc, and Graves. Harder to ripen so does better on high stone and gravel soils that raise vineyard temps.
Cab Franc in Bordeaux
Used in Saint-Émilion, and lesser Médoc and Graves. Less body and tannin than CS, herbaceous, stalky when unripe, but can contribute vibrant fruit abs floral notes when ripe. Prefers well drained warm soils.
Merlot in Bordeaux
Most widely planted variety, dominates right bank, particularly Saint-Émilion and Pomerol. Can successfully grow on cooler clay soils in these areas where CS would struggle to ripen. Softness means it dominates high volume, inexpensive wines.
Smallest amt. of planting a, ripens only in very hot years, giving v deep colour and tannin and ages slowly.
Oak barrel sizes used
Barriques - 225L
Only place in Bordeaux which is integrated into the appellation system. With S-E, there is a separate S-E Grand Cru. Within this, it ranks from best to worst:
1. Saint-Émilion premier grand Cru Classé, subdivided into:
1. Premier Grand Cru Classé A
2. Premier Grand Cru Classé B
2. Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Classé
Reclassifications happen atleast every 10 yrs.
Bordeaux Chamber of Comnerce produced list of best red wines from Médoc and Whites from Sauternes for Paris Universal Exhibition. Many changes to chateaux since then and highly contested whether classification is still representative, but remains intact. Chateaux listed are referred to as crus classés. Medoc was divided into 5 ranks, Sauternes into 3.
5 top rank crus classés from Medoc and Graves
Châteaux Lafite Rothschild
Châteaux Haute-Brian (Graves)
Top rank crus classés in Sauternes
Introduced after 1855 Classification to include more estates from Medoc. Only awarded to wines in specific vintages, so must reapply yearly for Classification.
Graves (Pessac-Léognan) Classification
Separate but parallel lists for White and for red, no ranking. All wines on list are simply crus classés. All of these are within limits of Pessac-Leognan as appellation was created after Classification.
Generic appellation of slightly stricter rules than simply Bordeaux, with a higher alcohol requirement in finished wine.
Rose mainly popular domestically. Longer maceration than typical rose with deeper colour and body to match.
Northernmost part of Medoc and also of Bordeaux. Wines are labeled Médoc. Soil mostly clay and wines mostly Merlot, early drinking.
Best area in Médoc. North of town of Bordeaux. From N to S, four best:
Stony soils, Higher percentage of Cab Sav, display core of black currant, cedar.
Directly south of city of Bordeaux, highest rated area in Graves. Soils are gravelly and suited to Cab Sav. Wines generally lighter body and more fragrant than Haut-Medoc. Care and pricetags are as much as any in Bordeaux.
South of Pessac-leognan making similar wines but less complex and more merlot.
Vins de garage
Movement in right bank to make full-bidied, incredibly ripe wines made in tiny quantities wirh no expense spared. Theyve become famous in rheir own right and many are classified within the S-E appellation system.
Winemaker of vins de garage.
Larger of two main appellations on R bank, dominated by Merlot and lesser extent Cab Franc.
Three groups of vineyards in Saint-Émilion
1. Plateau NW of town of S-E. warm, well drained gravel and limestone soils encourage inclusion of Cab Franc and sometimes even Cab Sav.
2. Escarpment to SE with clay and limestone soils.
3. Sandy soils ar foot of escarpment, lighter bodied, less prestigous.
Wines of best two areas from S-E
M to H tannins but have a softer and rich mouthfeel compared to L bank, woth complex red berry fruit and plum, developing tobacco and cedar as they age.
North of region of S-E, has as good of a reputation. Wines tend to be richer, spicier blackberry fruit.
Côtes de Bordeaux
Lesser known red wine appellations that agreed to share name Cotes De Bordeaux. Merlot-based for early drinking, best examples can be great value. Appellations allowed to put their name in front:
Premières Côtes de Bordeaux is sweet wine appellation completely unrelated.
Dry white wine regions of Bordeaux
Entre-Deux Mers - can only produce whites, reds have to be under generic appellation. Typically sav Blanc unoaked.
Graves - typically unoaked sav b.
Pessac-Léognan - many of best, some crus classé. Sav and sem fermented or aged in some new oak
Medoc & Sauternes - some making dry whites but must be under generic appellation
Top appellations on Garonne and its tributary Ciron. Ideal misty autumn conditions for noble rot. Lelvel of rot varies from year to year. Passilerage required some years.
Best sweet wines. West bank of Garonne. Sémillon dominates due to thin skin and succeptability to rot. Sav B provides acid and fruity aromas, and Muscadelle when used adds exotic perfume. Best wines are highin alc, sweet balanced with high acid, apricot and cotrus peel from rot plus toast and vanilla from oak.
Village within Sauternes. Allowed to use Barsac or Sauternes as appellation. Same style to Sauternes.
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