Bordeaux is, alongside Rioja and Tuscany, one of the most famous wine regions in the world. In fact, a lot of modern wine production owes itself to the technique and tradition that comes out of this fertile and gorgeous French region!

If you’re a fan of fine Bordeaux wine, then there might be a chance you’re interested in some fun facts about the region.

Here are five fun facts to whet your palette:

1. Bordeaux wine production dates back to the 4th Century AD

Or at least the first recorded mention of Bordeaux wine making dates back that far, when the Latin poet Ausonius mentions his own wine making processes in one of his poems.

Not only this, he mentions that he likes to have a tipple before writing, something not shared by this blog writer (the screen gets too blurry!).

2. Bordeaux wine was improved by the Dutch Republic

We don’t typically align fine wine production with the Netherlands, but it was their ingenuity in Bordeaux that truly improved its wine production.

The 17th Century was a period dominated by the Dutch Republic, who were quite fond of the Medoc Bordeaux subregion, and wanted to make it a fertile area for growth.

So, they decided to drain the region, on the left bank of Gironde, creating a fantastic growing location that is still in use today by some of Bordeaux’s top producers. Names like Margaux, Lafite and Latour simply wouldn’t exist without that Dutch ingenuity and decision to drain Medoc, although the legendary Chateau Haut-Brion was in existence before their arrival.

3. Modern wine making began in Bordeaux

Bordeaux wine may be synonymous with high class vintages and century-old tradition, but many modern winemaking techniques come from this stunning region.

Many innovations and ideas about wine consumption come from the region, and their input is placed into modern production.

These include:

  • Quality wine, and all good wine at that, comes from the quality of the grapes. There can be no good wine without quality grapes.
  • Red grapes can only be picked when they are fully ripe and treated gently once they are crushed so that no unpleasant or unripe flavours come through.
  • Shorter maceration and better controlled fermentation.
  • Wines use new oak to pass on flavours.
  • Processing wines via different quality and parcels then selecting how to blend them as opposed to simply hoping it will be a good mix.
  • You must develop wine tasting skills if you are going to develop the skills to produce top wine.

4. The English have a different name for Bordeaux wine

Sugar and sweets were very expensive during the middle ages, and so wine producers vinified wine to make it sweet and provide people with a little extra sweetness in their lives.

The wines that were imported to England were called vinum clarum, or “clairet” in French. Today, the English call this particular wine variety “claret”, however this is different to the French clairet made today – this is a full body rose made from Bordeaux merlot.

5. It gains value with time

Bordeaux wine can be like an investment: it gains greater value with time. Storing Bordeaux wine is a skill in itself, with wine connoisseurs across the world working hard to ensure that their vintages age well and increase in value.

These have been a few fun facts about one of the world’s most sought-after wines. A legendary region with plenty of world class chateaus, Bordeaux wine remains one of the world’s favourites.

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