While some wines are named for the grapes that make them, others have names based on the regions in which they were produced. Bordeaux refers to wine made in the southwest of France. Producing wine since the 8th century, Bordeaux is home to:
- roughly 284,000 acres of grape vines
- 9,000 wine-making vineyards
- 13,000 grape farmers.
Armed with all of these supplies and a vast level of experience, winemakers in Bordeaux produce around 700 million bottles per year. Without a doubt, the reds produced in Bordeaux are the most distinct of the region. In fact, Bordeaux reds are so unique that the British call them “Claret” wines, in which the word claret specifically refers to Bordeaux reds. Although the region is known for its distinct red wines, it also manufacturers a wide variety of white, sparking and blush wines.
Bordeaux is divided into winemaking sub-regions:
- St. Julien.
Even though Bordeaux has a rich, varied experience making wine, the increase in international vineyards over the past years has created serious competition for Bordeaux wines. Consequently, the Bordeaux vineyards have worked to revamp their marketing strategies to combat the recent fall in sales.
Bordeaux Geography, Climate and Soil
One of the reasons that Bordeaux has produced such quality wines for centuries is due to the terroir of the region. In winemaking, the term terroir refers to the soil quality, climate, humidity, water drainage, elevation and any other environmental aspect that affects the growth of grapes.
In Bordeaux, the limestone that lies beneath the area creates soil that is especially rich in calcium and, therefore, conducive to growing grapes. Along with quality soil, the region also enjoys a costal climate and natural irrigation from the neighboring rivers of Garonne an Dordogne. As a result, the terroir of Bordeaux is ideal for grape production.
The City of Bordeaux
Bordeaux is a city with a complicated, yet interesting history. While Neanderthal caves from nearly 90,000 years ago mark the presence of prehistoric man, over the centuries, a number of other cultures have inhabited the region. From the Celts to the Gauls (the ancient French) to the English, Bordeaux finally became part of modern-day France in 1653 under the reign of Louis XIV.
With nearly 1 million inhabitants, Bordeaux is the capital of France”s Aquitaine region. Along with the winemaking industry, Bordeaux has strong aeronautics, military, research and tourist industries. Similarly, this city is home to the prestigious University Bordeaux that has four distinct campuses for law, medicine, technology and liberal arts.
Each year, roughly 3 million tourists visit Bordeaux to appreciate its history and architecture. Known as the “City of Art and History” among the French, Bordeaux is on the verge of being included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, a list of 830 sites (including buildings, mountains, cities, lakes, etc) deemed to be of exceptional natural and/or cultural value to the human race and legacy.
Some of the buildings that have made Bordeaux a candidate for this prestigious designation include:
- Grand Theatre
- Saint-Andre Cathedral (blessed by Pope Urban II in 1096)
- Saint-Croix Church
- Saint-Michel Basilica.
Bordeaux Vintage Wine Chart
When buying Bordeaux wines, you may find it useful to consult a vintage chart so that you know which years were good or bad for the wine. Use the key to evaluate the best years for Bordeaux wine for each sub-region.
9= Very Quality
8= Above Average
6= Below Average
Below 6= Beware!
|HO = Hold, Slow to Mature
RS = Ready Soon
DW = Drinking Well
AS = Age Showing
|REGIONS||St. Julien/ Pauillac St. Estephe||Margaux||Graves||Pomerol||St. Emillion||Barsac/ Sauternes|
|2004||8 HO||9 HO||8 HO||8 RS||8 RS||8 RS|
|2003||9 HO||9 HO||9 HO||8 RS||9 RS||9 RS|
|2002||8 HO||8 HO||8 HO||8 RS||8 RS||9 RS|
|2001||8 DW||8 RS||8 DW||9 RS||9 RS||10 HO|
|2000||10 HO||9 HO||10 HO||9 HO||10 HO||8 RS|
|1999||8 DW||8 DW||8 DW||8 DW||8 DW||8 RS|
|1998||8 HO||8 HO||9 HO||10 HO||10 HO||8 RS|
|1997||8 DW||8 DW||8 DW||8 DW||8 DW||8 RS|
|1996||10 HO||8 HO||8 RS||8 RS||10 HO||8 RS|
|1995||9 HO||8 RS||8 RS||9 HO||8 DW||8 DW|
|1994||8 AS||8 AS||8 RS||8 HO||8 HO||7 RS|
|1993||7 AS||7 AS||8 AS||8 AS||8 RS||7 AS|
|1992||7 AS||7 AS||7 AS||8 AS||8 HO||6 AS|
|1991||7 DW||7 DW||7 DW||5 AS||8 AS||7 AS|
|1990||10 RS||9 RS||9 DW||10 DW||7 AS||10 DW|
|1989||9 RS||8 RS||8 DW||10 DW||5 AS||9 DW|
|1988||8 DW||8 DW||8 DW||8 DW||10 DW||10 DW|
|1987||8 DW||7 DW||8 DW||8 AS||7 AS||7 DW|
|1986||9 HO||9 HO||8 RS||8 HO||8 RS||9 DW|
|1985||9 DW||8 DW||9 DW||8 DW||8 DW||8 DW|
|1983||8 DW||9 DW||8 DW||9 DW||8 DW||8 DW|
|1982||10 DW||8 DW||8 DW||10 DW||9 DW||7 DW|
|1981||8 AS||8 DW||8 DW||8 DW||8 DW||8 DW|
|1980||7 AS||7 AS||7 AS||7 AS||7 DW||8 DW|
|1979||8 DW||8 DW||8 DW||8 DW||8 DW||7 DW|
|1978||8 AS||8 AS||8 DW||8 DW||8 DW||7 DW|
|1976||8 DW||7 DW||7 AS||8 DW||8 DW||8 DW|
|1975||8 RS||7 RS||8 HO||9 DW||8 DW||9 HO|
|1971||8 DW||8 DW||8 DW||8 DW||8 DW||10 DW|
|1970||8 DW||8 DW||8 DW||9 DW||8 DW||8 DW|