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Red Wine Appellations:
Bordeaux Supérieur
Premiéres Côtes de Blaye
Bourg or Côtes de Bourg
Bordeaux - Côtes de Francs
Côtes de Castillon
Graves de Vayres
Premières Côtes de Bordeaux
Sainte-Foy Bordeaux
Saint-Emilion Grand Cru
Lussac - Saint-Emilion
Montagne - Saint-Emilion
Puisseguin - Saint-Emilion
Saint Georges - Saint-Emilion
Rosé Wine Appellations:

Bordeaux rosé
Bordeaux clairet
Crémant de Bordeaux
Dry White Wine Appellations:

Sauvignon de Bordeaux
Crémant de Bordeaux
Entre-deux-Mers Haut-Benauge
Bordeaux Haut-Benauge
Côtes de Blaye
Premières Côtes de Blaye
Côtes de Bourg
Bordeaux-Côtes de Francs
Graves de Vayres
Sweet White Wine Appellations:

Bordeaux Supérieur
Premières Côtes de Bordeaux
Côtes de Bordeaux - Saint Macaire
Sainte-Foy Bordeaux
Graves Supérieures
Tough Times for Bordeaux

Next year, the world market will see a 35 percent cut in generic
Bordeaux exports. The largest of France's wine regions is in crisis.
But not to worry, the premier crus are still coming in, if you can afford them.

By Jonathan Platt

"In what was once the uncontested Mecca of wine, the 2003 vintages are quietly fermenting in the caves of prestigious châteaux in Bordeaux. Nonetheless, even though they have already been sold as futures at double the 2002 prices, winemakers are having a hard time handling the new reality.

It mattered little that even the famous classified growths came out with second and third labels, sometime even fourth labels, thus using the name while trying to move more generic products at lower prices.

Because of the competition arising from newer wine producing areas such as California, Australia, Argentina, Chile, New Zealand and South Africa, who have improved their vinification process by hiring French and Italian consultants, consumers started preferring the richer, cheaper wines on the market, and the interest for generic French wines has declined.

"Domestic consumption is down, foreign competition and the weak dollar have battered exports, overproduction is rampant and needed changes are thwarted by obsolete rules. Bordeaux has been hit particularly hard because it is the largest of the country's wine regions and wine is central to its economy. The Bordeaux appellation comprises well over 10,000 wine properties, most of them small - 20 acres or less - and many of them are in trouble," according to Frank Prial of the New York Times.

Crisis in Bordeaux
Because a classified growth Premier Cru bottle of wine can sell up to 100 times more than a generic wine, smaller landholders and producers have been overproducing to pay their bills. Many, who had heavily borrowed from banks to purchase their land at peak prices in the hope of producing wines that would be sold internationally, and who depend on their wine for their living, may be forced to close over the next few years.

Their demand from the Bordeaux Wine Council: to regulate prices, to permit them to blend wines from other regions with their own, and to name their wines by the grape name, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Chardonnay, as is now becoming a standard appellation in the rest of the world, instead of labeling their wines geographically with the name of the village where they grow (for instance: there are 151 châteaux with Figeac in their name), were only met partially. All of the above could only be applied to the cheapest country wines, decreed the Wine Council. Which, of course, was rejected by the winemakers who feel pride in the Bordeaux appellation.

As a result, the strategy adopted by the Bordeaux Wine Council, which includes both the world-famous châteaux and the independent producers, is to concentrate on marketing better quality wines and to hold less expensive wines off the market in 2004.

  • Growers and shippers say exports of French wines, including Bordeaux, dropped 5 percent in 2003.
  • Exports from the United States rose 17 percent and from Australia 25 percent.
  • Australia edged out France as the principal wine exporter to Britain for the first time last year.


Since you cannot always taste a wine before buying it, knowing how to read its label is the key to smart shopping and ordering.

Items required by law to appear on the label:
  1. The name of the A.O.C. (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) wine-growing region, district, or village to which the wine is entitled according to how it was produced. For example, a wine from the Saint-Emilion district would be labeled "Appellation Saint-Emilion Contrôlée."
  2. The volume of the wine in the bottle, 75 centiliters (just under one liter) is standard
  3. The percentage of alcohol by volume which varies by appellation.
  4. The control number or lot identification number (this may instead appear on the back label or on the metal capsule). "Mis en bouteille au château" means that the wine is château-bottled. Other variations: "mis en bouteille à la propriété" (bottled at the property), "mis en bouteille dans la région de production" (bottled in the region of production), or "mis en bouteille dans nos caves" (bottled in our cellars).
  5. The country of origin must be indicated on all exported wine. "Product of France" (Produit de France) can also be used. Starting with the 2000 vintage, the designation "Vin de Bordeaux" or "Grand Vin de Bordeaux".
Other optional information is often placed on labels:
  1. The vintage or year in which the grapes were harvested. 100% of the wine must be from the year on the label.
  2. The château name, which is also the name of both the product and the producer. If it is not a château wine, then the regional appellation or a brand name is usually mentioned.
  3. Art or logo representing the château.
  4. A bottle number, not to be confused with the control number.

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