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.
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.
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!