CHATEAU ANGELUS 2010
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Wine is being produced throughout France and has been done for over 2,500 years with certain Châteaux dating their history back to Roman times, around 6th Century BC. Ranking second in the world in per-capita consumption and first in total production quantity. More so than the overall quantity of wine is the quantity of truly great wines coming out of France makes the nation the envy of wine-making nations worldwide.
Two concepts pivotal to the higher end French wines, in particular, are the idea of 'terroir' and the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) system. Terroir refers to the way the geography, geology and climate find their way into the glass, telling a story of the origin of the wine. The AOC was set up in 1935 and has the primary goal of protecting the authenticity of the wines and the livelihoods of the producers. Appellation rules strictly define which varieties of grapes and winemaking practices are approved for classification in each of France's several hundred geographically defined appellations, which can cover entire regions, individual villages or in some cases, like in Burgundy even specific vineyards.
Classic wine regions in France include Champagne (home of Champagne), Burgundy (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay), Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot), Alsace (Aromatic varietals), Loire Valley (Chenin Blanc, Crémant) and the Rhône Valley (Syrah, Grenache Mourvedre)
The Bordeaux classification of 1855 is still in use, as is the Sauternes and Barsac Classification of the same year. Wines from certain regions can be bought En Primeur, which is when the wine is sold prior to it being bottled.
Bordeaux has a rich history of winemaking, dating back to the Roman times. Today, it is known as one of the most significant wine regions in the world, with a reputation for producing complex, full-bodied red wines. The region is home to a diverse range of terroirs, each with its own unique microclimate, soil composition, and grape varieties.
The left bank of Bordeaux is dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, which thrives in the region's gravelly soils. These wines tend to be bold, tannic, and complex, with notes of blackcurrant, cedar, and tobacco. On the right bank, Merlot is king, producing wines that are softer and fruitier, with notes of plum, cherry, and chocolate.
Aside from the red blends, Bordeaux is also renowned for its sweet wines, particularly from the Sauternes and Barsac appellations. These wines are made using a unique process that involves botrytis, or "noble rot," which concentrates the sugars in the grapes, resulting in a lusciously sweet and complex wine.
Bordeaux's classification system has evolved over time, with some estates moving up or down the ranks depending on the quality of their wines. Today, the system includes five growths, with Premier Cru being the highest and Deuxièmes Crus being the second-highest. There is also a separate classification for the sweet wines of Sauternes and Barsac, with Chateau d’Yquem holding the highest rank.
Overall, Bordeaux is a region that continues to captivate wine enthusiasts around the world with its rich history, diverse terroirs, and exceptional wines.
Saint-Émilion, a prestigious and historic appellation located on the right bank of the Gironde river in Bordeaux, France, is a red-wine-only region that has earned a well-deserved spot on the World Heritage List. Although Saint-Émilion is situated inland from the Atlantic Ocean, it still benefits from the moderating influence of the river and the cool, humid climate of the region, which is ideal for cultivating early-ripening grape varieties.
Merlot, the primary grape variety in Saint-Émilion, is renowned for its plump, juicy fruit flavors and velvety tannins, and it is typically blended with Cabernet Franc, which adds structure, tannin, and complexity. Some châteaux also grow small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon, which contributes additional depth and richness to the final blend.
Wine styles in Saint-Émilion can range from simple, easy-drinking wines that are perfect for enjoying in their youth to premium Grand Cru Classé wines that are among the most coveted and sought-after in the world. The quality of the wine is influenced by many factors, including location, vine age, and winemaking techniques.
The best wines from Saint-Émilion are characterized by their intense, concentrated aromas and flavors of red and black plums, often accompanied by notes of vanilla and clove from aging in new oak barrels. These wines are typically full-bodied, with high alcohol content and robust tannins, which provide structure and aging potential. Over time, bottle aging will soften the tannins, allowing the wine's rich fruit flavors to fully express themselves.
It's worth noting that Saint-Émilion has its own classification system for Premier Grand Cru Classé and Grand Cru Classé wines, which is updated every decade to reflect the changing quality of the region's wines. This system serves as a benchmark for quality and helps consumers to identify the best wines from this renowned appellation.
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