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Regional Bordeaux AOCs
In the Bordeaux wine region there are seven regional Appellations d’origine contrôlée (AOCs) that may be used throughout the Gironde department. These are Bordeaux Rouge AOC, Bordeaux Supérieur Rouge, Bordeaux Clairet, Bordeaux Rosé, Bordeaux Blanc, a dry white, Bordeaux Supérieur Blanc, a sweet white, and Crémant de Bordeaux, a sparkling méthode traditionnelle wine. The regional appellations together form the largest world-class wine vineyard, making up more than half of the production of the prestigious Bordeaux wine region. and representing more than 55% of all Bordeaux wines consumed in the world.
The entry-level Bordeaux AOC reds are fruity and easy-to-drink, and meant for early consumption rather than cellaring. More ambitious reds are usually sold as Bordeaux Supérieur AOC.
Notable exceptions to the general rule of Bordeaux AOC as simpler wines are some dry white wines produced in Médoc and Sauternes, where the production of red and sweet wines dominate. In difference from most of Graves, these areas are not allowed to use any other designation than Bordeaux Blanc AOC for dry white wines. Thus, some very ambitious and expensive dry white wines, such as Château Margaux‘s Pavillon Blanc and Château d’Yquem‘s “Y” have to be classified as “simple” Bordeaux Blancs.
All rosé and clairet wines are produced under regional appellations.
Production and Area
The vineyard area devoted to the production of Bordeaux AOC wines is approximately 61,700 hectares (152,000 acres), of which 50,000 hectares (120,000 acres) are used for red wine and 6,740 hectares (16,700 acres) for white wine
Average yearly production is 3,300,000 hectolitres, corresponding to approximately 431 million 75 cl bottles, with 2,300,100 hectolitres of red wine and 304,000 hectolitres of white wine
The maximal authorized yield for Bordeaux AOC is 55 hectoliter per hectare, and the alcohol level of the wine must be between 10 and 13 volume percent. Dry white Bordeaux may not have more than 4 grams per litre of residual sugar
For red wines, the most planted grape varietals are Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. As most regional Bordeaux AOC wines are produced on the Right Bank, Cabernet Franc is often found in the blend. Winemakers are using more and more Malbec but Petit Verdot is not often seen.
For white wines, Sauvignon blanc and Sémillon each represent 42% of the vineyard surface and Muscadelle 9%
Bordeaux Supérieur Rouge AOC
The Bordeaux Supérieur appellation covers the same geographic area as Bordeaux AOC. However, the wine in this appellation is often produced by single parcels of older vines. Moreover, Bordeaux Supérieur wines must be aged for at least twelve month before they can be sold.
Production and surface
Yearly production: 489,230 hectolitres
Surface : 4,725 hectares (47.25 km2)
Bordeaux Clairet AOC
Bordeaux clairet is a generic AOC for the Bordeaux defined as “clairet“. All other appellations in the Bordeaux region, including the most prestigious ones, are entitled to produce under this AOC. Bordeaux clairet is a wine which can either be described as a dark rosé wine or a light-coloured red wine. As there is also a more commonly used Bordeaux rosédesignation, Bordeaux clairet is not simply any rosé from Bordeaux.
Bordeaux clairet wines are similar in colour to the wines which were shipped from Bordeaux to England during the Middle Ages, known as French Claret. These wines established the fame of Bordeaux as a wine-making region, and led to the (primarily English) practice of referring to Bordeaux as “claret“. They are refreshing wines, appreciated because they can be easily enjoyed with picnics or exotic food.
Production and surface
Yearly production is 52,000 hectolitres from 925 hectares of vineyard surface. Maximum authorized yield is 55 hectolitres per hectare.
The authorized grape varieties are the same as red Bordeaux AOC although Merlot is the most common of this AOC.
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