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Bordeaux Winemaking Bordeaux Winemaking CIVB

The Left Bank-Medoc

Surprisingly perhaps, there is no left bank wine appellation (legally controlled category of wine). Instead the area is divided into two main appellations, the Medoc to the north of Bordeaux city and Graves to the south and west. These in turn are complemented by several legally classified sub regions.

The Wines of the Left Bank - Medoc

The Bordeaux wine regions on the Left bank of the Gironde River occupy a strip of sandy, gravelly soil, bordered by extensive coniferous forests. This along with Bordeaux’s position halfway between the North Pole and the Equator, plus the warming influence of the nearby Atlantic Gulf Stream, ensure a balanced climate ideal for producing strong wines with structure and strength, as well as finesse and elegance

The Médoc Region (virtually, red wine only)

As is usually the case in France the Medoc has a wine hierarchy. This is based on geography, with the addition of legally enforced rules relating to grape growing and wine production. All Medoc winemakers have a choice as to how they label their wine, provided the wine meets the differing requirements of the individual area AOC. Those to the north of the region can choose to market their wine as basic Bordeaux AOC or Bordeaux Supérieur AOC or even Medoc AOC. Most will choose the later if they can. Winemakers in the southern two thirds of the region, may additionally choose the even more desirable Haut Medoc AOC. Within the Haut Medoc AOC itself, wineries in specific areas may choose to label their wines under a particular village appellation provided they and their wines meet the tougher requirements.

Additionally a winery (called Chăteau in Medoc) may be eligible for an additional quality related classification such as grand cru classé, cru bourgeois, or the recently revived ancient classification of cru artisan.

The Médoc Appellations

Médoc AOC, 584 winemakers, 127 of whom are classified cru bourgeois and 15 cru artisan, another 345 belong to one of the five regional wine co-operatives. The total AOC production is about 37 million bottles per year.

Although any producer from the entire Medoc region can label their wine Medoc, provided they satisfy the specific rules and regulations. Generally only those winemakers from the northern third of the region will do so. The grapes utilized are the Bordeaux regulars, cabernet sauvignon and merlot with perhaps some, petit verdot, melbec or cabernet franc or even carménère.

Haut-Médoc AOC, established 1936; about 30 million bottles are produced by 392 winemakers, who include five cru classé, 140 cru bourgeois and twenty four cru artisan, while 150 are organised in five co-operatives. Only wines from the southern two thirds of the Médoc region can carry the Haut Medoc AOC brand, those to the north have to settle for the Medoc AOC label. The rules, regulations and grape varieties are exactly the same as the Médoc AOC above.

Permitted grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Carménère, Melbec and Petit Verdot.

Saint- Estèphe AOC, established 1936; about 8.5 million bottles produced by 136 winemakers, comprised of five cru classé, forty three cru bourgeois, 0ne cru artisan with eighty seven winemakers allied to the sole co-operative.

Only wine produced within the commune of Saint-Estèphe conforming to the AOC regulations can carry the Saint- Estèphe brand.

Permitted grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Carménère, Melbec and Petit Verdot.

Pauillac AOC, established 1936; about 8.1 million bottles produced by 136 winemakers, comprised of eighteen cru classé, sixteen cru bourgeois, 0ne cru artisan, with fifty two winemakers allied to the sole co-operative.

Only wine produced within the commune of Pauillac conforming to AOC regulations can carry the Pauillac AOC brand.

Permitted grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Carménère, Melbec and Petit Verdot.

Saint-Julien AOC, established 1936; about six million bottles, produced by twenty six winemakers, comprised of eleven cru classé, eight cru bourgeois and 0ne cru artisan.

Only wine produced within the commune of Saint-Julien conforming to AOC regulations can carry the Saint-Julien AOC brand.

Permitted grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Carménère, Melbec and Petit Verdot.

Listrac-Medoc AOC, established 1957; about 5 million bottles, produced by ninety winemakers, including twenty nine cru bourgeois, with two cru artisan and forty organised in one co-operative.

Only wine produced within the commune of Listrac Medoc conforming to AOC regulations can carry the Listrac-Medoc AOC brand.

Permitted grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

Moulis-en-Médoc AOC, established 1938; about four million bottles produced by forty two winemakers comprised of thirty one cru bourgeois and one cru artisan.

Only wine produced within the commune of Moulis-en-Medoc conforming to AOC regulations can carry the Moulis-en-Medoc AOC brand.

Permitted grape verities: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc.

Margaux AOC, established 1954; about 9 million bottles produced by 80 winemakers including 21 cru classé, 25 cru bourgeois and three cru artisan.

 

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