PRIVATE WINE TOUR FROM BORDEAUX HALF DAY
- Duration: 4 Hours (approx.)
- Location: Bordeaux, Aquitaine
DESTINATIONS FOR A HALF DAY WINE TOUR INCLUDE:
Pomerol was first cultivated by the Romans during their occupation of the area. Up until the early 20th century the area was known mostly for its white wine production. This area within Libournais doesn't have a distinct city center with several villages spread across an area about the same size as St.-Julien. The area overall has gravel-based soil that is typical of Bordeaux, with western and southern sections having more sandy soil while the northern and eastern sections toward St.-Emilion have more clay composition. The wines of Pomerol have a high composition of Merlot in their blends and are considered the gentlest and least tannic and acidic of Bordeaux wines. Cabernet Franc, known in this area as Bouchet is the second leading grape and helps to contribute to the dark, deep coloring that is typical of Pomerol wines. Due to the reduced tannins found in these wines, they can typically be drunk much younger than other red Bordeaux. The chateaus in the area are not classified, with the winemakers seemingly disinclined to devise one, although Pétrus is often unofficially grouped with the First Growths of Bordeaux.
The Graves region is bordered on the north by the Garonne river and contain the sub regions of Pessac-Léognan, Sauternes and Barsac. It is known for its intensely gravelly soil. While Château Haut-Brion was included in the 1855 classification of the Médoc, the Graves appellation itself was classified in 1953 for its red wine producers. White wines were included in the updated 1959 classification. Graves is considered the birthplace of claret. In the Middle Ages, the wines that were first exported to England were produced in this area. Château Pape Clément, founded at the turn of the fourteenth century by the future Pope Clement V, was the first named chateaux in all of Bordeaux. In 1663, Samuel Pepys' mention of Château Haut-Brion was the first recorded mention of French Claret in London.
Barsac, such as Premiers Crus Château Climens and Château Coutet are allowed to be labeled either with the commune name or with Sauternes. The intense sweetness of these wines is the result of the grapes being affected by Botrytis cinerea, a fungus that is commonly known as noble rot. In the autumn, the Ciron river produces mist that descends upon the area and persists until after dawn. These conditions are conducive to the growth of the fungus which desiccates the grape and concentrates the sugars inside. The three main grapes of this area are Sémillon, Sauvignon blanc and Muscadelle. Production costs for this area's botrytized wines are comparatively high. The evaporation and fungus produce low yields, five to six times less than in other Bordeaux regions. The grapes are normally harvested individually from the bunch with pickers going through the vineyards several times between September and November to ensure that the grapes are picked at their optimal points. The wine is then fermented in small oak barrels, further adding to the cost. Even with half bottles of the First Growths priced at several hundred dollars, these wines still have difficulties turning a profit and in the mid 20th century a string of bad vintages drove many growers in the region out of business.