What are the five First Growths and where are they?
Ch. Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac
Ch. Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac
Ch. Latour, Pauillac
Ch. Margaux, Margaux
Ch. Haut-Brion, Graves
What are Bordeaux's most planted white and red varietals?
White - Semillon
Red - Merlot
What are the top vintages of Bordeaux (Left Bank) in the 2000s? (Best to worst)
2009, 2005, 2010, 2000
What are the top vintages of Bordeaux (Right Bank) in the 2000s? (Best to worst)
2009, 2010, 2005, 2015, 2016, 2012, 2001, 2006
What is the difference between encepagement and assemblage?
Encepagement - Makeup of the vineyard.
Assemblage - Makeup of the blend of wine
What is the name of the canals that the Dutch created in order to drain the Medoc?
When was the first appearance of Ch. Haut-Brion found in text?
What diseases plagued Bordeaux, where were they from, and when did they arrive?
Oidium, Phylloxera and Peronospera - All American in origin
Oidium (Powdery Mildew) - 1852 in the sweet wine vineyards along the Garonne, quickly migrated to the Medoc. Crippled yields and in 1854 - France harvested its smallest vintage since the late 1700s. Application of sulfur in the vineyards mitigated the damage.
Phylloxera - 1869 - Took hold by the late 1870s and caused widespread ruin.
Peronospera (Downy Mildew) - Struck with Phylloxera in the early 1880s
1888 - Bordeaux mixture - a copper sulfate-lime concoction created to defend the vines.
What are considered to be some of the "vintages of the century?"
2000, 2005, 2009, 2010
What is the only current classified chateau to embrace biodynamic practices in all of Bordeaux?
What are the communes of Margaux?
What are the communes of Pauillac?
What are the communes of Saint-Estephe?
What are the communes of Saint-Julien?
What is the difference between Graves AOP and Graves Superieur AOP?
Graves AOP - allows dry red and dry white production.
Graves Superieur AOP - authorizes only sweet white production, with most appellation wines finishing around 40-50 g/L of residual sugar
What larger appellation are the sweet wine appellations within and what are their names?
What are the communes of Sauternes?
What are the communes of Cerons?
What is Chateau d'Yquem's Bordeaux blanc called? (Occasionally Superieur blanc)
Ygrec - First debuted in 1959 and was made intermittently until 2004, when production commenced annually.
What is the method of harvesting in Sauternes called?
tries - multiple hand-harvested passes through the vineyards - very expensive.
Sauternes is situated at the confluence of which two rivers? Why does this matter?
The Ciron and the Garonne
It encourages the development of morning mists and humidity in the early autumn - conditions ripe for botrytis
What are the two red wine-only appellations of Saint-Emillion? What is unique about the appellation's boundaries?
Saint-Emilion AOP (1936)
Saint-Emilion Grand Cru AOP (1954)
They share the exact same geographical boundaries.
Saint-Emilion Grand Cru AOP - wines must be estate-bottled, unlike the basic Saint-Emilion AOP, which can be blended and bottled by a negociant.
Additionally, there are lower maximum yields and a longer elevage required for the Grand Cru category. While they share exact geographical boundaries, most Grand Cru estates are located on the limestone cotes and plateau rather than in the river plain.
On a wine label, "Saint-Émilion Grand Cru" indicates an appellation;
"Saint-Émilion Grand Cru classé" indicates a classified producer within that appellation
What year was the "great winter" that was so devastating to Bordeaux?
1956 Crippled or killed many existing vines.
Describe the budding and ripening of Merlot and what it is susceptible to.
Merlot is early-budding and early-ripening. Thin skins in comparison to Cabernet Sauvignon. Prone to rot and coulure from the early season spring frosts. It's chief disadvantage in Bordeaux's seemingly warmer modern climate is its rush to produce sugar; in warm years like 2009 or 2010 Merlot can easily hit 16% in potential alcohol.
How many hectoliters and what percentage of wine does Bordeaux contribute to the total production of French wine?
14% 5-6 million hectoliters (as of 2011)
What are the two rivers that are associated with Bordeaux and where are they located? What is the estuary? Where does it split?
Gironde Estuary Splits between Margaux and Cotes de Bourg
What is the largest mitigating factor to the climate of Bordeaux? What type of climate?
Atlantic Ocean funneled inland by the Gironde Estuary. Maritime Climate warm summers and cool winters
What is unique about the annual rainfall in Bordeaux?
Relatively evenly dispersed throughout the year, driest months July and August
Why is rainfall a challenge at harvest and in springtime in Bordeaux?
Spring time - rain can interrupt flowering, reducing yield and inviting rot
Harvest - Washed out
What is Bordeaux considered on the Winkler Scale?
Region II - average temperatures in August (the hottest month) reach 26C
Bordeaux AOP - Red Varietals
Bordeaux AOP - White Varietals
Sauvignon Blanc (and Gris)
Far less common: Ugni Blanc, Merlot Blanc, Colombard
What is Bordeaux's insurance policy against it's at times, volatile climate?
Multiple varietals - each buds and matures at different schedules
What are the genetic parents of Cabernet Sauvignon?
What offspring is Cabernet Franc responsible for besides Cabernet Sauvignon?
What is the common genetic parent of Merlot and Malbec, making them half-siblings?
The rare Magdeleine Noire des Charentes
What is responsible for the green notes - bell pepper, grass, sage found in Cabernet Franc, Carmènere, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc?
Merlot Budding and ripening? Favored Soil? Viticulture? Skin? Dangers?
Early to bud, early to ripen (two weeks earlier than Cabernet Sauvignon)
Cool soils like clay to restrain ripening
Thin skin Prone to rot and coulure - less susceptible to wood-rotting diseases like Eutypa dieback and esca than Cabernet vines.
Rushes to produce sugar - riper years pushes 16% in alcohol
Lush blue and plum fruit
Warmth of alcohol
Can be tannic
Cabernet Sauvignon Budding and ripening? Favored Soil? Skin?
Late to bud, Late to ripen?
Warm gravel soils
Thick skin allow to resist rot more successfully than Merlot and is armor against the rain
Tannic, phenolic grape
Cabernet Franc attributes in Bordeaux
Adds acidity and aromatics to Merlot
Where did Malbec get it's name?
A grower named Malbec brought the grape, then known as Pressac Noir, from the right bank to the left, and gave it it's modern name
What does Petit Verdot do to the Bordeaux blend?
Rarely exceeds 5%
Adds color, exotic spice, floral perfume, and tannic backbone to Cabernet Sauvignon-based blends.
Semillion attributes in Bordeaux
Thin-skinned Prone to botrytis - the variety of choice for dessert wines in Bordeaux
In dry wines, waxy and rich, often blended with Sauvignon Blanc as foil to the pungent aromas and high acidity
Sauvignon Blanc attributes in Bordeaux
Rich, barrel-aged or
Racy, grassy wines
What three AOPs apply to the entire area of Bordeaux?
Bordeaux Supérieur AOP
Crémant de Bordeaux AOP
Who is the natural wine producer on the outskirts of the right bank petitioning the INAO to grant it AOP status?
Chateau le Puy
What are rose wines produced from in Bordeaux?
Red grapes only - blending white and red is not authorized
What are the elevage differences between Bordeaux Supérieur AOP and Bordeaux AOP for red wines?
Bordeaux Supérieur AOP - red wines undergo elevage until mid-June of the year following harvest
Bordeaux AOP - reds can be sold by mid-January
Cremant de Bordeaux AOP
Generic outlet for white and rose sparkling wines in Bordeaux, made in the traditional method and aged for at least nine months on the lees.
What is the Vin de Pays of Bordeaux?
Spans five departments
Gironde, Cognac-producing Charente and Charente-Maritime, Dordogne, and the western part of Lot-et-Garonne
When did Bordeaux fall back into the hands of the French?
1453 - after the Battle of Castillon of the Hundred Years' War
When was the introduction of selling Bordeaux by a brand name?
17th century. Chateau Haut-Brion appears in the cellar notes of King Charles II as early as 1660
What year was Mouton classified as a first growth?
What were the great vintages in Bordeaux in the 1940s?
1945 1947 1949
What is sur souches?
Pricing based on previous vintages
agreed upon prior to harvest
What was the first chateaux to begin estate-bottling its entire production?
What year marked the standard of chateau bottling for classified estates in the Medoc?
What is the Place de Bordeaux?
A three-tier de facto system of wine production, brokerage, and sales that controls the trade of wine in Bordeaux
What are the three tiers of the Place de Bordeaux?
Who was the first and only key producer to opt out of en premieur and when?
What is the common method of vine training in Bordeaux?
Guyot - this method invites Grey Rot
What method of vine training is common for sweet wines in Bordeaux?
Cordon - produce smaller berries that attract botrytis
Why is de-leafing important in Bordeaux?
Due to the heat and rain, de-leafing allows for the grapes to get the ventilation they need from the humid late summer and early fall
Who is the only classified and certified biodynamicic producer in the entire Medoc?
What is an optical sorter?
Sorting machine that allows a producer to automatically reject fruit that does not meet a certain dolor quality and size
What is a density sorter?
Sorting machine in which grapes are run through a sugar-water solution. Those denser than the solution (and therefore ripe enough to appear in a grand vin) sink and are selected; those that float are rejected.
What is the typical elevage for red wine in Bordeaux?
What is cliquage? What is it used for?
A form of micro-oxygenation occuring during elevage in which small doses of oxygen are applied to the finished wine in barrel.
Advocates say that it can counter reduction invited through batonnage
Critics say that it produces short-term gain at the expense of long-term stability
What is the name of the manmade forest within the Medoc that helps shield the region's vineyards from Atlantic weather and winds?
What are the eight AOPs in the Medoc?
What is listed as one of the leading unclassified estates of the Medoc?
Northernmost commune AOP in the Haut-Medoc
Jalle de Breuil marks the southern boundary of Saint-Estephe and divides Chateau Cos d'Estournel from Pauillac's Chateau Lafite Rothschild
Cos d'Estournel and Montrose. Growth and AOP?
Second - Saint-Estephe
Deepest croupes of gravel in the Medoc
Most important site for Cabernet Sauvignon in Bordeaux
Northern boundary marked by Lafite-Rothschild,
Southern boundary marked by Latour
Classic style is power-dark, brooding wines that require years in the cellar to unclench
Geographically between Margaux and Pauillac
Does not claim any first growths
Eleven classified growths that control 85% of the commune's production, the highest proportion of classified vineyards in any Medoc appellation
Defined by what it's not - elegant without being Margaux, firm without the power of Pauillac
Deep gravel soils
Formally recognized in 2002. From the 2005 vintage forward, 44 small producers. Work on average 6 ha each
Originally introduced in 1932 - 444 properties that did not make it into a higher classification
Cru Bourgeois exceptionnel
Cru Bourgeois supérieur
Last major revision was in 2003 trimmed the list to 247 chateaux and only nine exceptionnels, mandated further revision every 12 years.... Theres more to this that I don't feel like writing right now.
What separates Graves from the sea?
The Landes Forest
[What are the top styles of Graves?
All three: dry red, dry white, sweet white - it is the only region in Bordeaux to contribute top styles of all three
What is the soil type in Graves?
Gravel in the north
Sand and limestone in the south
When was the first list drafted for the Graves classification? The final list?
What is the Graves classification?
A list of chateau first drafted in 1953
Departure from the 1855 template, there was only one designation - cruller classé.
Initial list revisited, more chateaux added, finalized in 1959. Theoretically not set in stone, nor subjected to routine revisions like Saint-Émilion.
Which two chateaux disappeared from the Graves classification in the 2000s?
Chateau La Tour Haut-Brion (classified for red wine) - 2005
Chateau Laville Haut-Brion (classified for white ine) - 2008
When was Pessac-Leognan created? Why?
1987 by the INAO
Andre Lurton arrived from the Entre-deux-Mers to address concerns of proprietors of the classified estates in Graves. He was made president of the Syndicat de Hautes Graves by the mid 1970s and pressed for a creation of a new AOP to save the region from the threat of obliteration.
Where are Sauternes and Barsac located?
Southern Graves along the left bank of the Garonne River.
What is the French term for noble rot?
Who was deemed the only premier crus supérieur?
What issues did Sauternes face with marketing in the mid-20th century?
Cheap, mass-produced sweet wines from Graves
What does botrytis do?
When it attacks the grape, it permeates the skin and dehydrates it, so that sugar, acidity, and glycerol content are heightened. The wines achieve an intense spiced complexity that would be impossible to duplicate through normal dehydration; with time the afflicted grapes can imbue a bouquet of honey, saffron, dried fruit, ginger spice, even iodine.
What did Chateau d'Yquem famously do in 1974 in?
Performed 11 tries over ten weeks, only to reject the wine.
Barrel fermentation is common - top wines are generally fermented in barriques and aged in them as well. Sulfur dioxide is a necessary tool during fermentation and elevage, used to reduce volatile acidity, a constant threat in Sauternes, and to ward off the risk of re-fermentation Chaptalization and cryo-extraction are both permitted, despite essentially confirming failures in the vineyard. Can hit a finished alcohol level of 14% with residual sugar range up to 120-160 g/L
Producers may choose to label their wines under the separate Barsac AOP, but many choose the more recognizable Sauternes. Wines used to be a touch drier, but now the appellations are almost identical. If producers choose to make a dry wine, they are limited to the Bordeaux AOP.
Sweet white wines OR dry white and red labeled Graves
Growers generally lack the inclination or the funds necessary to make great botrytized wine in the style of Sauternes.
New oak and tries run up the bills and the risks are great.
The Right Bank
Saint-Émilion, Pomerol, Fronsac and their satellites
All wines are red
10% of Bordeaux wines - 12,400 ha Bourg and Blaye
Higher elevations than the Medoc
Raised plateaus, rolling hills, variable exposures - Medoc is flat Cool clay and calcareous soils dominate More suitable for Merlot than Cabernet Sauvignon
General encépagement for the Right Bank
30% Cabernet Franc
White wines fall under the Bordeaux AOP
Merlot in the Right Bank
Ripens easily in the cooler, clay-riddled soils and is generally more adaptable, less susceptible to disease, more evenly ripening, and longer-lived than Cabernet Franc
The thinner skins do attract rot
Cabernet Franc in the Right Bank
The region's traditional grape
Stands in for the structure of Cabernet Sauvignon in right bank blends and tempers the fruitcake and jam of Merlot with brighter acidity and restrained alcohol.
Grapes of the Right Bank
Petit Verdot is basically non-existent
Smattering of Malbec
Three or Four producers playing with the revival of Carmenére.
Biggest difference in Chateau, Left Bank vs. Right Bank
Left Bank chateau can easily amass 60-80 ha of vines Right Bank rarely exceeds 20 to 25 ha Right Bank Chateau are growing today
Where is the highest proportion of Chinese-owned estates in Bordeaux?
What is the garagiste movement?
Sparked by Valandraud in Saint-Émilion, rapidly swelled in the 1990s but has subsided in recent years. A vin de garage serves to identify both size and intent: whether or not they are actually produced in a garage, the wines are small-production, low-yielding, extracted efforts that undergo severe selections and new oak
What is the picturesque hallmark of Saint-Émilion?
The spire of a towering Romanesque cathedral
When was Saint-Émilion designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site?
Who is Chateau Ausone named after?
The poet Ausonius
Where does the soil turn from clay to gravel on the right bank?
Near the gravelly terrace of Pomerol on the norwestern sector of the plateau. This is where Cabernet Franc rises.
This is where Chateau Figeac is located, one of the few Saint-Émilion properties with a substantial amount of Cabernet Sauvignon planted
This is also where Chateau Cheval Blanc is, a property that blends more Cabernet Franc than Merlot into their grand vin.
What are the most historic growing areas on the right bank?
The cotes, or slopes, of the limestone plateau near the commune of Saint-Émilion itself.
What is the soil type in the sprawling valley of the Dordogne, where much of the 20th-century vineyard expansion occurred?
Soils turn sandier, wines turn lighter and more forgettable. There is some gravel in the valley, but overall this is not a sector of high potential. The vineyards closest to the river may only apply to the regional appellation, Bordeaux AOP
Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Classé and Saint-Émilion Premier Grand Cru Classé
Separate AOCs introduced alongside Saint-Émilion Grand Cru in 1954
The cru classé AOCs did not comply with the EU defitinion of an appellation and in 1984 the classifications of grand cru classé and premier cru classé were eliminated as appellations.
From 1954 to 1984, there were four separate AOCs for Saint-Émilion; today, there are two.
What year were the three new AOCs established for Saint-Émilion? What were they?
Saint-Émilion Grand Cru
Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Classé
Saint-Émilion Premier Grand Cru Classé
The latter two were eliminated as appellations, but not classifications, in 1984
How frequently were revisions intended to be done for the Saint-Émilion classification?
Every 10 years
When was the first list of premier grand cru classé, grand cru classé, and grand cru estates completed?
Legally enacted in 1958 Updates in 1969, 1986, 1996, 2006, 2012
What revision year jeopardized the integrity of the Saint-Émilion classification? Why?
A group of demoted chateaux brought legal action and scuttled the results. This went on in the French courts for years, resulting in a 2009 compromise that allowed chateaux promoted in 2006 to retain their new status while demotions were rendered invalid.
The Saint-Émilion Wine Council shifted authority over to what organization to maintain the classification's quality control?
The INAO - an appeals process was added for demoted chateaux
The current classification (2012) was conducted entirely by the INAO in accordance with set principles: analyses of soil, topography, viticultural and winemaking techniques; and examination of the estate's reputation; and a tasting spanning a decade of vintages. Producers may not add or subtract vineyards at will, and properties are not necessarily classified in total.
Ex. Only 27 of Chateau Angelus' 29 hectares of vineyards are ranked as premier grand cru classé A
What are the current premier grand cru classé A estates?
How many premier cru classé B and grand cru classé properties are there?
14 premier cru classé B
64 grand cru classé
What is Bordeaux's smallest village appellation?
What type of soil is Chateau Petrus known for?
Blue Clay on the Buttonhole
Petrus is centered on the soil, some of their neighbors are on parts of it, but only Petrus can claim vineyards that are almost entirely situated on this patch of thick blue clay
What are the three soil types found in the rising plateau of Pomerol? (From lowest to highest)
What is crasse de fer?
Iron-rich sand deposits celebrated by some producers as part of the "magic" of Pomerol's terroir
What is the buttoniére of Pomerol?
An area located at the highest elevation in eastern Pomerol consisting of purer, water-retaining clay with some gravel. The Buttonhole is an area of deep blue clay at Pomerol's highest and easternmost point, spanning just 20 ha.
Who is one of the only great Bordeaux properties to produce a mono-varietal wine?
In most years, the grand vin is 100% Merlot
Grapes of Pomerol
70% of total vineyard area is Merlot. After the winter of 1956 that was so devastating, growers replanted with Merlot.
25% Cabernet Franc (on the rise to due rising temperatures and Merlot's affinity to produce sugar)
5% Cabernet Sauvignon
Very little Petit Verdot or Malbec
What is the main landmark of Pomerol
The Church of Pomerol
Who are some of the top estates in Pomerol?
Vieux Chateau Certan
Le Pin (all of these less than one kilometer from Petrus)
Which notable Chateau of Pomerol was sold to Chinese interests in 2013?
Chateau Le Bon Pasteur
Why was there an initial fall from grace with Fronsac and Canon Fronsac?
They used to be some of the most sought-after wines of all the right bank in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Then, phylloxera struck - growers moved closer to the river where floods prevented the bugs incursion.
Which is held in higher regard? Fronsac or Canon Fronsac
What is Fronsadais molasse?
A mixture of soft limestone and clay found in Canon Fronsac and Fronsac
What are some of the top estates in Canon Fronsac?
What are some of top estates in Fronsac?
Chateau de la Dophine
Chateau Fontenil (Michel Rolland)
Chateau de La Riviere (Largest in the region)
What are the Saint-Émilion satellites?
Originally there was six - Parsac and Sables.
What body of water divides Saint-Émilion AOP from the satellite appellations to the north?
The Barbanne River
Which satellite produces the most amount of wine?
What is the smallest satellite?
About twice as many hectares of vines as Puisseguin and is almost on par with Montagne's production
Furthest north, highest in elevation of the satellites
One of the last places that harvest occurs each year. It borders Castillon
Two communes: Lalande-de Pomerol and Néac. Merlot dominates. Five minute drive from Petrus Similar soil
Land between the seas (Between the Garonne and Dordogne)
Established AOC status solely for white wines in 1937, further restricted to dry white wines - 1957
Merlot dominates the vineyards today - destined for Bordeaux AOP or Bordeaux Superieur AOP
Weathered limestone plateau overlaid with cool clay and sandy clay soils that rises to 100 meters above sea level (high for Bordeaux)
What are the subzones of the Cote de Bordeaux AOP? When was it established?