Monthly Archives: April 2015

A Bordeaux birthday.

Last week the Côtes de Bordeaux Appellation celebrated its fifth birthday.

The Bordeaux appellations might date back to the creation of INAO (Institut National des appellations d’Origin) in 1935 but they are not written in tablets of stone as the Côtes de Bordeaux illustrate.

Created in 2010, after several years of planning, and applicable as of the 2008 vintage, this ‘new’ appellation regroups four existing Cotes Appellations and has created one brand new generic one – Côtes de Bordeaux.

The existing Premières Côtes de Blaye has been renamed Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux, Côtes de Castillon is now Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux, Bordeaux Côtes de Francs is now Francs Côtes de Bordeaux and Premières Côtes de Bordeaux now Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux. They are all recognisable by the Côtes de Bordeaux Logo.

This change gives properties the choice between using the local ‘village’ appellation or the larger generic appellation. It also means that producers or negociants bottling wines from more than one of these four appellations can do so under the Côtes de Bordeaux Appellation rather than being ‘down graded’ to Bordeaux Appellation which was previously the only previous option.

The collective Côtes de Bordeaux Logo

The collective Côtes de Bordeaux Logo

These family run, merlot dominated vineyards, although geographically spread throughout the right bank of Bordeaux, all enjoy a similar terroir; slopes of limestone and clay with a well drained, mainly south westerly exposure running down to the Garonne, Gironde and Dordogne valleys.

Côtes de Bordeaux Slopes overlooking the Garonne river.

Côtes de Bordeaux Slopes overlooking the Garonne river.

The region represents 12% of Bordeaux and despite offering very accessible (price and quality) mainly Merlot dominated wines, they have up until recently been largely ignored in most export markets.

The new appellation has given this lesser known region of Bordeaux a greater impact in these markets. In the five years of its existence, export figures have doubled. It also means the different appellations can work together, pooling resources, with a series of promotional events and tasting in the key export markets such as the US and the UK.


To celebrate their birthday they launched a new visual incorporating the Côtes de Bordeaux logo you will find on the bottles. It underlies the message of cooperation between the individual vineyards and the four appellations.

Happy Birthday Côtes de Bordeaux!





Rock ‘n Rolle.

I’ve written a couple of posts in the past on how rock n roll influences or encourages (depending how you see it) the world of wine and wine makers. In a recent post on  her blog Champagne expert Laura Clay talked about the changes in the taste of champagne according to the music played.

And The Ecole du Vin at Bordeaux Fête du Vin had visitors tasting wine to tracks selected by a DJ specifically selected to match the wines served. If you follow the twitter feed of Wine Advocate writer and Pomérol expert, Neal Martin, he’ll happily share the sound track to his tasting expedition and experiences.

Here’s a new offering on the theme: Dutch wine journalist and critic, Cuno Van’t Hoff known for his affordable wine guides in this very price sensitive market, has crossed over to the other side. With three friends, he has launched a new range of two wines from the South of France. Fermented from Vermentino, an Italian grape variety also known as Rolle when it is grown in the Languedoc Roussillon. Its bright acidity shows particularly well in even these hot climates – it flourishes in Sardinia for example.

Rock 'n Rolle

Rock ‘n Rolle

The IPG Pays d’Oc wines called Rock ‘n Rolle are made with Dutch wine maker Theo Kalkdijk at the Chauxdigue winery. The grapes are selected from old vines on the chalky, clay soils overlooking the Mediterranean. The Classic is unoaked whereas the Star enjoys a touch of oak to add complexity.

Two other friends also bring their expertise to the table; artist Selwyn Senatori designed the label and DJ Gerard Ekdom created the play list. Do you think they’re having fun yet?