Here we are back again in the Bordeaux area. Last time we talked about the “Left bank”, let’s talk today about the “Right bank”. Also call the “Libournais”, beacause Libourne is the major city situated in the middle of the right bank. The soils are composed of limestone, clay and sand. One of the particularities of this area is the landscape, which is very diversified, you will find some plateau and terraces, slopes and valleys, and can have the effect on the quality of the wine. The climate, like in the left bank has the influence from the ocean, with good hours of sunshine and a good humidity that helps to regulate the temperature.
The grapes in this area are quite similar to the “Left bank”, but Merlot is the most used one, with the help of the Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon (the latter is used in small quantities). Merlot will make a round wine, complex, fruity and voluptuous. As the palate, you will discover a large variety of red fruits (strawberry, raspberry) and black fruits. The wine could be jammy too depending on the vintage. Also some spices, flowers (violet, rose) and some prune and leather could appear during the ageing. Blending with Cabernet Franc is important for the ageing and to bring some fine tannins. Cabernet Sauvignon will balance the wine and make it round and calm down the tannin power of the young wines.
The “Right bank” is composed of 3 majors families of appellations: Saint Emilion, Pomerol and Fronsac, including 10 AOC (Appellation D’origine Controlee): Saint Emilion, Saint Emilion Grand Cru, Lussac Saint Emilion, Montagne Saint Emilion, Puisseguin Saint Emilion, Saint Georges Saint Emilion, Pomerol, Lalandes de Pomerol, Fronsac and Canon Fronsac. This area represents only 10% of the Bordeaux .
Those 3 families of appellations are not included in the classification of 1855, which included only the Grave and the Medoc. In 1954 the “Syndicat Viticole” decided to do a classification of the Saint Emilion, that was supposed to be updated every 10 years, but in fact it was updated only in 1969, 1985, 1996 and 2006. The 2006 St-Emilion classification has been suspended, because of the complaints of several Chateaus who have been demoted. In the end it was decided to go back with the 1996′s one. So now, in Saint Emilion there are 3 categories of classifications, Premier Grand Cru Classe A (Chateau Ausone and Chateau Cheval Blanc) Premier Grand Cru Classe B (11 of them) and the Grand Cru Classe (55 of them). But for the moment there is no classification for the Fronsac or the Pomerol wines.
The next step of this Tour de France des Vins will be the white wines of Bordeaux. Huumm can’t wait for it…