Did you know that Bordeaux is considered the first Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) region in France? And that Bordeaux wines account for 14% of all French vineyards today? White, red or rosé, Bordeaux wines are classified in different appellations which are a guarantee of quality for consumers. In this article, PatriWine gives us an overview of the history of Bordeaux wines.
The first Bordeaux wines by PatriWine
Today, Bordeaux wines constitute a rich landscape of flavours thanks to the diversity of grape varieties and terroirs. However, each Bordeaux wine is the result of a series of carefully executed steps.
At the time of the Roman occupation, Aquitaine was unaware of winemaking at that time. The inhabitants of Gaul in general drank cervoise and beer made from barley. They only knew the wine imported by Mediterranean merchants from Pompeii, Spain and the Narbonnais. As the people of Bordeaux quickly became wine lovers, they decided to start their own production so as not to pay the exorbitant duties that only enriched the merchants of the Narbonnais.
Very quickly, the city was transformed into a city where wine culture completely penetrated all sectors of activity. Contrary to other regions where the wines were under the control of monks, in Bordeaux it was the merchants who took care of the wine production.
The beginning of Bordeaux’s glory
Around the 14th century, half of Bordeaux wine production was shipped to England. At that time, the wines of eastern Bordeaux were quite popular. They were in direct competition with other wines from other territories. As a result, Bordeaux merchants and wine producers promulgated a rule to prevent other wines from circulating in the city before the Bordeaux people were on board the ships.
During the 17th and 18th centuries, merchants from the Netherlands, England and Germany managed most of the wines produced in the region. At the time, producers sold their wines in barrels or casks at the end of their production. Sometimes the merchants would buy the barrels, bottle the wines and let them age.
And it was in 1855 that merchants decided to create a classification of Bordeaux wines, in order to distinguish the best. This classification still exists today, but in the form of the classification of great growths. Indeed, it was only after the Second World War that Baron de Rothschild took the initiative to bottle his own wines and let them rest in the cellar.
Nowadays, Bordeaux wines are very well known all over the world and marketed under different brand names. As PatriWine points out, some of them are even considered true luxury products.