The wines of Bordeaux

The wines of Bordeaux have a myriad of different tastes due to the growing practices, the methods of winemaking, the varieties of grapes grown and the land they are grown on. In the vineyards of Bordeaux they produce white wines both sweet and dry, red wines, sparkling wines and rose.

The following grapes are what produce the majority of the wines in the area; Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Carmenere, Malbec, Sauvignon, Semillon, Muscadle, Ungi Blanc, Merlot Blanc and Colombard.

Since ancient times there have been wines in the Bordeaux region. The Burdigala decided to make their own vineyards not wanting to pay the exorbitant prices of wines from the Narbonne region nor from Italy. The wines were brought to the area by Roman traders and via the sea.

What helped the vineyards in the first century was the easy trading that went on with northern Europe and the British Isles. The Pliny, Columella and Biturica grapes all were used in the Bordeaux region because of how they performed in moist, cool soils in the Gulf of Biscay.

Wine trade started to grow from the region of Graves. In the 13th century the King of France took the La Rochelle Port, the exporter of wines from Bordeaux and changed the port from exporting the wines destined for the British Isles. He then granted tax privileges to the Bordeaux merchants and vines started to be planted with great vengeance.

At this time wine was produced from mixing the juice from white and black grapes that produced a clear mixture known as claret. It was not until sometime in the sixteenth century that vineyards started to resemble what they are today with the vines being planted in long rows.

Then Dutch businessmen arrived in the seventeenth century and started to change the business methods used. They not only introduced drinks like chocolate, tea and coffee but encouraged the making of sweet red and white wines. These new tastes competed with the Gascon clarets and then the Pontac family chose a new path. They developed the land, took great pride in grooming the vines, and aged the wines in oak barrels and produced the wine in England.