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Bordeaux and Burgundy Wine

Often hard to find & exclusive to Ashby Wines, we work closely with the Supplier to ensure we bring you the best – these are a selection. All wines are stored in air conditioned conditions, at a constant 10º C.

Often hard to find & exclusive to Ashby Wines, we work closely with the Supplier to ensure we bring you the best – these are a selection. All wines are stored in air conditioned conditions, at a constant 10º C.

Bordeaux is known mostly for red wine.Merlot accounts for the most common red variety with Cabernet Sauvignon the second most prominent and then Cabernet Franc. For white wine, Semillon is the most common, followed by Sauvignon Blanc.Burgundy is instead known for its white wine, though the production of red to white is far more balanced. For white wines, almost all come from Chardonnay and for red wines, almost all come from Pinot Noir.

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The Main Differences Between Bordeaux wine vs Burgundy wine

The Main Differences Between Bordeaux wine vs Burgundy wine are:

  • Bordeaux wine is from the eastern Bordeaux area in France, whereas Burgundy wine is produced in southwest Burgundy in France.
  • Bordeaux wine in its finest is catalogue as a Premier cru classé, whereas Burgundy wine in its finest is Premier grand cru classé.
  • Bordeaux wine grows in a relatively warm climate, whereas Burgundy wine needs a cooler climate to grow perfectly.
  • Bordeaux wine profile has a pleasing balance of sweet dark fruit notes with more dry notes, whereas Burgundy wine character has a delightful blend of earthy notes with a bit of spice and deeper red fruits.

A guide to Bordeaux

The Bordeaux wine region of France is located on both the right and left, bank of the Gironde. The location and the climate means these vineyards produce some of, if not the finest wines in the world. Consequently, Bordeaux is a major player in the international wine market.

It is a vast region with a great range of wines among the lesser-known appellations as well as among the crus classés. The diversity in character and style is due to the varied soils and climate and to the care and ability of the people who make the wine.

Bordeaux can be divided into five categories. Red wines from the left bank of the Garonne and the Gironde estuary embracing the Médoc and Graves; red wines from the right bank of the Gironde and the Dordogne, including St Emilion and Pomerol and their satellites; the hill vineyards (côtes) of Bourg, Fronsac and the Côtes de Bordeaux; red and white wines from the Entre-Deux-Mers region between the Garonne and Dordogne; and the great white wines from Graves and Sauternes.

The region division also defines the style of Bordeaux blends and splits Bordeaux into distinctive territories that are must-visit while you are traveling in the region. The Left bank area includes famous appellations such as Médoc, GravesMargaux, and Pauillac, where Cabernet Sauvignon is the predominant grape variety whereas on the Right bank you will find Saint-ÉmilionPomerolLibournais, and Bourg and Blaye with the dominance of Merlot.

Each appellation tends to have a certain characteristic, which we describe below, but this is only part of the story. Shrewd Bordeaux buyers have learned that it is more important to follow the property and grower than the appellation and this is true year in year out. With hard work and good equipment, good producers make excellent wine in what used to be thought of as difficult vintages 20 years ago, and sadly, careless and idle producers make poor wine from potentially good vineyards in years that the vintage charts rate highly.

The lighter years have the advantage of maturing earlier, costing less and often giving quite as much pleasure. For the same reason, second wines of top châteaux can be an attractive buy often at a third of the price of the first wine.

The Most exclusive wines in the world – Grand Crus of Médoc

  • Château Latour – Historical wine estate rated as a premium cru under the 1855 Bordeaux classification. Château Latour terroir is expressed in the elegance and depth of its wines. That’s why it is rated as one of the most expensive wines from Médoc.
  • Château Haut-Brion is one of the oldest wine estates of this area, located in the town of Pessac, a few kilometers away from Bordeaux. Estate produces some of the best white Bordeaux blends in the world. Haut Brion Blanc wine is the world’s most expensive dry white wines.
  • Château Haut-Brion is one of the oldest wine estates of this area, located in the town of Pessac, a few kilometers away from Bordeaux. Estate produces some of the best white Bordeaux blends in the world. Haut Brion Blanc wine is the world’s most expensive dry white wines.
  • Château Margaux has been bringing excellence with its Bordeaux wines for hundreds of years already. Wines that are meant to be aged and to be enjoyed with food. What makes these wines so special is a special sophisticated character of Margaux terroir expressed in wines.
  • Château Lafite Rothschild has a fascinating history that goes back to 1234. The wine estate is an honourable member of the five châteaux referred to as the ‘first growths’. And they produce Bordeaux wines that with exceptional finesse and elegance that are great as young but also have significant ageing potential.
  • Château Mouton Rothschild – Since 1924 estate brings Artists such as Salvador Dalí, Francis Bacon, Picasso and Miró designed labels for bottles. Château Mouton Rothschild gives complete freedom of creation around the theme of the vine and the pleasure of drinking. The project underlines the exclusivity of each and every bottle produced here.

A guide to the flavours of Bordeaux

Red Bordeaux is a blend of different varieties of grape, namely Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, with a touch of Cabernet Franc (especially on the Right Bank), Petit Verdot and sometimes a dash of Malbec. The blend used by each château will vary from year to year depending on the vintage. Left Bank wines are generally dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, whereas wines from the Right Bank tend to feature more Merlot.

Cabernet Sauvignon: Grown in nearly every major wine-producing country across the globe, Cabernet Sauvignon adds tannins and structure, acidity, deep colour, blackcurrant and cassis fruit flavours, and significant ability to age.

Merlot: The most widely planted grape in Bordeaux develops faster with age than Cabernet Sauvignon, and adds softness and fleshiness. It offers moderate tannins and less acidity, with plummy, blueberry and blackberry flavours. It dominates wines in the northern parts of the Médoc.

Cabernet Franc: Similar to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc ripens more easily — about a week earlier than Cabernet Sauvignon — and so is planted in the cooler clay soils of St-Emilion and Pomerol. Cabernet Franc adds perfume, opulence and smooth texture (and acidity to compensate for the domination of Merlot on the Right Bank).

Petit Verdot: The small, thick-skinned Petit Verdot ripens late and provides dark colour, structure and tannin, spice and violet perfume. It grows best in the gravel-based soils of the Left Bank, and its tannins make it a good fit with rich meat dishes and lightly spicy food.

Saint-Estèphe is famed for an austere minerality and high acidity, and wines that have a very long ageing potential. The Second Growths Cos d’Estournel and Montrose are located here. Cabernet Sauvignon dominates, but some Merlot is added to soften the wines.

Pauillac is renowned for powerful wines dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon. Taste characteristics include lead pencil, green bell pepper, cedar (with age) and cassis. These wines are famed for their richness and for being muscular and tannic and spicy, and very long-lived wines.

St. Julien is also dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, with some Merlot. Similar in style to Pauillac with cedar and cigar-box perfumes. These tend to be middle-weight, elegant, slightly less concentrated and tannic than Pauillac, but with less austerity than St-Estèphe while combining some of the finesse of Margaux.

Margaux is celebrated for wines that are opulent, elegant, delicate, silky-textured and intensely aromatic with violet fragrant perfumes and raspberry, cherry and redcurrant fruits. Cabernet Sauvignon dominates, with some use of Petit Verdot.

Pessac–Léognan & Graves wines are also dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon but have higher proportions of Merlot. Wines are minerally, smoky and earthy with hints of ‘red bricks’. The famed Château Haut-Brion and Château La Mission Haut-Brion are located here.

Pomerol and St-Emilion wines are dominated by Merlot (especially in Pomerol) with Cabernet Franc. Pomerol wines tend to be more opulent, richer and warmer, fleshier and velvety-textured wines compared to St-Emilion. They may have deeper colour, more intense and rich plummy black fruit flavours and develop exotic spice and truffle with age.

St Emilion wines tend to be more tannic than Pomerol and more similar in structure to the Left Bank. They mature and evolve more quickly, however, and are dominated by red fruits over black fruits.

A guide to Burgundy

Burgundy has built its winemaking traditions throughout the centuries and still presents the benchmark of excellence. It is where the understanding and the respect towards the terroir is taken to a completely different level. The division of the land that was done centuries ago by local monks into small plots of vineyards or Climat is still present and produces some of the best wine in the world.

Because of its cultural significance, Climat and terroirs are protected by UNESCO. Visiting the region is a great experience for wine lovers. Meeting passionate winegrowers and awakening your taste buds with these fabulous Bourgogne wines will be unforgettable experiences.

Internationally renowned vineyard extends from Dijon to Mâcon, in France. It owns prestigious appellations like Romanée-Conti, Aloxe-Corton, Nuits-Saint-GeorgesGevrey-ChambertinPommardMeursault and many others. Bourgogne wines are known to be one of the most aromatic and of high quality in the world.

Learn about Burgundy wines and vineyards

Around 60% of the production concerns white wines in Burgundy region, from the grape varieties of Chardonnay and Aligoté. 30% of red bourgogne wines produce from Pinot Noir and Gamay and around 10% represent the sparkling wine Crémant de Bourgogne. These grape varieties produce legendary wines from the prestigious appellations: Chambertin, Clos-de-Vougeot, Clos-des-Lambrays, Musigny, Romanée-Conti, Fixin, Nuits-Saint-Georges.

Vineyards of Burgundy wine region

The region gathered legendary vineyards. All of these are made up of Climats. Each Climat corresponds to a delimited plot of vines which owns its specific terroir, history, and climatic conditions.

Winegrowers in Burgundy give significant meaning to their terroir. It is known that monks, who started wine production in the middle ages, have divided and established boundaries of different terroirs that still exist today under the names of Grand Crus.

Division of the land happened after careful evaluation of the influences each and every piece of land has on the wine it produces. Consequently, Burgundy is made up of several distinct sub-regions.

Chablis – Appellation of Burgundy wine region

Chablis is the northernmost village appellation of region that lies in the valley of River Serein. Due to its terroir, Chablis wines are drier and fresher than the other Burgundy.

The best vineyards of Chablis that produce Premier Cru and Grand Cru Burgundy are normally planted on south-facing slopes, Whereas basic village-level appellations can also be located on the north-facing slopes and flatlands. Burgundy wines from the Premier Cru and Grand Cru vineyards show more ripeness and concentration with the aromas of citrus and well-balanced acidity.

Côte d’Or – From the heartland of Burgundy wine region

Côte d’Or in the heartland of Burgundy is home to the best Pinot Noir vineyards in Burgundy. This is where Pinot Noir finds the most favorable conditions and produces wines with the best expression of the local terroir.

Côte d’Or is split into two: Côte de Nuits, where you find more full-bodied Pinot Noirs and Côte de Beaune that produce softer red wines and sensational white wines from Chardonnay. As you see two sides of Côte d’Or where the majority of the vineyards are planted on south-east facing slopes produce some of the top Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs from the region.

The finesses and aromatic complexity of these wines mainly come from marly limestone soils.

Concerning the appellations, Côte de Nuit is famous for Gevrey-Chambertin, Vosne Romanee and Nuits Saint-Georges. When in Côte de Beaune important villages are Aloxe-Corton, Beaune, Pommard, Mersault, Puligny-Montrachet and Chassange-Montrachet.

Côte Chalonnaise

The vineyard extends from Bouzeron to Sercy on 4.000 hectares. Wines of this territory keep their own character through the limestone-clay soils. Certainly, this type of soil is the best for growing Pinot Noir grape variety. Also, Chardonnay, Aligoté, and Gamay are the main grape varieties of this region.

Five excellent appellations, producing white or red wines, composed the Côte Chalonnaise vineyard: Givry, Montangy, Mercurey, Rully, Bouzeron. 

Mâconnais

Mâconnais is the most southerly sub-region. It stretches 50 kilometers between Sennecey-le-Grand and Saint-Véran to the Beaujolais boundary. Renowned for its white wines mainly produced by Chardonnay.

Mâconnais also produces some red wines from Pinot Noir and Gamay. Among the prestigious appellations are, the five area of Mâconnais: Pouilly-Fuissé, Pouilly-Vinzelles, Pouilly-Loché, Saint-Véran and Viré-Clessé.

The best way to explore the diversity of soils and climate of each Climat is to visit the wineries of the region, figuratively of course via your preferred vintner – Ashby Wines!

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