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Bordeaux

History

Wine production in Bordeaux began in the 1st Century, with the first documented evidence of wine production recorded by Pliny the Elder. The vineyards were cultivated at this time for the Roman soldiers who occupied the area. It was not until the 12th Century, when Bordeaux became an English territory and the wine exported, did the region gain popularity as a wine producer. At this time Graves was the principal wine region of the area and Medoc was a barren marshland. The wines produced during these years was very different from the wines produced today. The wines were highly alcoholic and fruity and did not age well, usually spoiling within a year of production. It was not until after The Hundred Years' War in 1453 that France took control of the area and the production of wines.

In the 17th Century Dutch traders drained the marshes of Medoc and vineyards were planted. By the 18th Century, Bordeaux had such a large number of vineyards that in 1725 the region was divided into specific sections so that consumers could know which area the wine had come from. The collective of districts is known as the Vignoble de Bordeaux.


 In 1855 a classification system was set up that ranked the top Chateaus of Medoc according to their market price. From 1875 to 1892 almost all of the Bordeaux vineyards were destroyed by Phylloxera, a pest that feeds on the roots and leaves of grapevines. After which, the area was rescued by grafting the vines of the region onto the pest-resistant rootstock from America. The vines of the Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle responded better to the grafting and thus became the leading grapes of the Bordeaux.


The major regions of Bordeaux are:

The wines from these regions can vary greatly depending on the winemaking style, the terroir, and the varietals used.