a well made Francs Côtes de Bordeaux that belongs to the Chadronnier family, owners of Bordeaux merchant CVBG. - Neal Martin, Wine Advocate
Critic Scores & reviews
"The 2016 Marsau, which is pure Merlot picked 7-15 October, undergoes a soft extraction and now tends to be blended earlier during the élevage. It has a lovely nose of brambly black fruit, lively and well defined with a pastille-like purity, a second bottle showing a touch of camphor. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, tightly wound blackberry and raspberry fruit with a light, slightly linear finish. I probably like the 2015 better last year but it is still a well made Francs Côtes de Bordeaux that belongs to the Chadronnier family, owners of Bordeaux merchant CVBG."
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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.
Cotes de Bordeaux
Côtes de Bordeaux comprises a group of red wine appellations that have agreed to share the name. These include Blaye, Cadillac, Francs, and Castillon. The wines from these areas are often Merlot-based and ideal for early drinking. However, other grape varieties grown here include Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Carménère, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. The best wines can offer great value for money. The soil here is generally clay limestone on porous stone bedrock. Expect stewed black fruit on the nose with notes of undergrowth and spice. The palate is elegantly round. These wines have the potential to age nicely for three to 10 years.
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