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Bordeaux wine history

Wine has been grown in Bordeaux for two thousand years. Most probably vines grew there before the arrival of the Roman in 56 before J.C.. The poet Ausonius wrote about it, a château still bare his name, the "Château Ausone".

But unlike most of the other french wine regions, wine in Bordeaux was developed by merchants. In other parts of France, wine was under the power of monks.

At the beginning of the second millennium the Bordeaux region was under English domination. Hundred of boats loaded with barrels of "Claret" left for England. The "Claret" was a light red wine which Englishmen loved, the word is still used to refer to Red Bordeaux.

By the 14th century, half of the wine production was boarded on ships mainly to England.

At that time, wines from Bergerac and Gaillac, east of Bordeaux, were very famous and strongly compete against Bordeaux wines. Nowadays they belong to the South West wine region.

Therefore the local winemakers and merchants banned those South West wines from entering the city of Bordeaux until their own wines were on board the ships !

People started to make wine in Medoc (and places such as Margaux, Saint Estèphe, Saint Julien, Pauillac...) only from the 17th century. Before that, Medoc was actually a swamp.

During the 17th and 18th century, merchants from England, the Netherlands and Germany controlled most of the wines produced in the whole Bordeaux region. At that time, wineries sold their wine in barrel and cask just after they made them. Merchants bought barrels and casks, sometimes bottled the wines and matured them.

In 1855, these merchants created a ranking to distinguish the finest Bordeaux wines. The classification still exists and is known as Grands Crus Classés (Great Growths).

At the end of the second world war, Baron de Rothschild was the first wine maker to bottle his wines and mature them in a cellar, before all wine makers do the same.

During the last decades, the trend in Bordeaux is to put a brand name on the bottle with grapes coming from all over the region and even beyond. Brand names such as Mouton Cadet and Malesan are increasingly popular.

And a most obvious trend these days is the high price of Bordeaux and the speculation around it.

Read more about Bordeaux wines with
Bordeaux: a comprehensive guide to the wines produced from 1961 to 1997, by Robert Jr. Parker

More pages on Bordeaux :
Bordeaux wine

About Bordeaux wine region :
Bordeaux wine information - Bordeaux region information - Wine map - Winemaking in Bordeaux - Bordeaux wine history - Classification of wine - Bordeaux wines and food - Buy Bordeaux wines - Bordeaux main page

Wines from Bordeaux :
Médoc - Haut Médoc - Margaux - Saint Estèphe - Pauillac - Saint Julien - Listrac - Moulis - Graves - Pessac Léognan - Sauternes - Barsac - 1ères Cotes de Bordeaux - Bordeaux aoc/Bordeaux supérieur - Entre Deux Mers - Saint Emilion - Cotes de Castillon - Cotes de Francs - Pomerol - Fronsac - Cotes de Bourg - Wines of Bordeaux

Other french wine regions :
Alsace - Bourgogne (Burgundy) - Champagne - Corsica - Côtes du Rhône - Languedoc-Roussillon - Loire Valley - Provence - South West



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