France and the Wines of Bordeaux

France and the Wines of Bordeaux
Winemakers around the globe look to France as the benchmark; Burgundy for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the Rhone Valley for Syrah, Bordeaux for Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Verdot, the Loire Valley for Sauvignon Blanc, and Champagne.


France encompasses an extraordinary range of terrain and weather patterns. In the north, grapes sometimes do not see enough sun and warmth to get perfectly ripe. In other years, all might be progressing well and then devastating hail tears through the vineyards, or torrential downpours arrive just before the harvest. Bordeaux has a moderating maritime climate. The prevailing dampness means that disease is a perennial threat, but one such infestation, Botrytis cinerea (noble rot), is a boon for the sweet-wine producers of Sauternes. Burgundy, inland to the north and east, is cooler. Its continental climate, with relatively high rainfall, places it at the northern limit (in the northern hemisphere) for making red wines. But consider those wines: at their best, they have a fragrance, complexity of flavor and silkiness of texture that leaves normally voluble critics speechless. The Loire Valley lies even farther north, but vines still thrive there as a result of the moderating influences of moist Atlantic breezes and the expansive river and its tributaries. In France’s most northerly wine region, Champagne, the grapes barely ripen each year, but that’s rarely a cause for concern—high-acid, relatively low-sugar grapes are perfect raw material for the finest sparkling wines. Climate is only one factor. Terroir, the complete package of soil and subsoil, aspect and altitude, climate and mesoclimate—and any other natural feature that might affect the vines, is what really counts. Soil types vary greatly. Burgundy and Jura have limestone, Beaujolais and the northern Rhône sit on granite, Champagne has chalk, the Médoc has gravel, and some of the vineyards in Châteauneuf-du-Pape are covered with huge, smooth stones for as far as the eye can see. France’s finest vineyards tend to be located on poor soils where little else will thrive.

To read the complete article, please visit http://winereview.planetgrape.com/france-and-the-wines-of-bordeaux/

Sign up for our weekly blogs.  See our upcoming full program and single course schedule. Private, customized corporate training is also available.

Photo Credit: Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux

By SF Wine School | | Bordeauz, Catherine Fallis, France, Wine Profiles |
next post → ← previous post

ABOUT

San Francisco Wine School strives to open up the world of wine to serious students and enthusiasts everywhere while helping people of all levels break into the wine industry, advance their career, or simply pursue their passions. Founded by Master Sommelier and Certified Wine Educator David Glancy, San Francisco Wine School is the largest wine school in the U.S., offering the most thoughtful approach to wine study. Their inspired educational programs and workshops are taught in their state of the art wine education & events center and their cutting edge virtual classroom by industry-leading instructors from all major educational disciplines. San Francisco Wine School’s curriculum features the best content in the business: expert course materials, carefully conceived wine flights, and in-depth blind tasting exercises designed to engage students, illuminate course content and enhance learning. Their brand new sunlight-filled wine education & events center is conveniently located just 5 minutes from San Francisco International Airport and boasts 16-ft high coved ceilings, eight 12-ft tall arched windows, and gorgeous 180 degree views of the San Bruno Mountains, South San Francisco City Hall and the San Francisco Bay, making it the perfect place to enjoy classes, industry seminars and tastings and host a wide variety of private events—from serious educational programs for wine/hospitality industry staff to team-building and other fun, social, private events for wine enthusiasts.

Stay in Touch