Bordeaux French wines

Bordeaux : French wine

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French wines : Bordeaux

Along with Burgundy Bordeaux is one of the most famous of France’s wine producing regions and it has its own local, official, AOC categories. Typically Burgundy produces about 700 million bottles annually of which nearly 90% is red: it is the wine people refer to as Claret.

Bordeaux is a very large area so has a mix of soil types and weather which, along with a wide variety of grape types in use, gives a wide variety of wines, though as mentioned, most of it is red. Quite a high percentage of grape growers bottle their own wine, higher than other parts of the country, about three-quarters of them, and there are a total of 13,000 growers. However Bordeaux is also the fastest growing wine producing area in France.


Historically French wine-making hit a century of trouble starting with disease in the 19th century followed in the last century by two world wars trampling all over its land and then foreign competition. It was only after the establishment of the national standards backed by the law and years of development that France finally got back into its stride as a global wine producer in the 1970s. Since then it has continued to grow with more and more land being put under the grape: Bordeaux more than any other.

Claret has been very popular in the UK, this is largely because in the 12th century the area called Aquitane, which includes Bordeaux, became property of the English crown, by the marriage of Henry II to Eleanor of Aquitane. As a result Bordeaux red was drunk in the English court in large amounts. The tradition has continued in the upper classes for 900 years (and when France regained Aquitane, it made Claret even more desirable because it was hard to find).

Bordeaux is the second largest wine-producing area in France and in the world (number one being Languedoc) and has its own official AOC classifications: six main ones which are further divided.