The Viticultural History of Bordeaux
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The Viticultural History of Bordeaux
FWS Master Level
Who wrote the first written referenced to Bordeaux wine?
Ausonius, a Bordeaux poet and wine maker, c310-393 AD
What is the Biturica vine and who mentioned it?
Believed to be of Greek origin, transplanted from Albania;
Originally known as Balisca; morphed into Biturica, then vidure (vigne dure or hard vine)
Pliny the Elder mentioned it in c77 AD
Name the name of Bordeaux used by the Greeks and Romans
When did the Roman Empire fall?
September 4, 476, when Romulus Augustus was deposed by Odoacer, a Germanic chieftain.
When were the Middle Ages?
Middle Ages was from 476 to 1500
Early(476-1000, aka Dark Ages), High (1001-1300), Late (1301-1500)
When were the Crusades?
During the High Middle Ages (1095-1272)
What Germanic tribes occupied Bordeaux in the Middle Ages?
Visigoths for 100 years then the Franks under King Clovis
Who owned the vineyards during the Middle Ages?
Roman Catholic Church in Burgundy and Rhone
Nobles and Merchants in Bordeaux
When was Cabernet Sauvignon created?
17th C cross between CF and SB
When did Eleanor, Duchess Aquitaine, marry Henry Plantagenet, Count of Anjou?
1152, within 2 months of annulment of her marriage to French King Louis VII
What is the significance of Eleanor of Aquitaine's marriage to Henry Plantagenet?
Start of 300 years of British rule of Aquitaine
What titles did Henry Plantagenet have?
King of England (1154-1189)
Lord of Ireland (1171-1177)
French Count of Anjou, Maine, Nantes
French Duke of Normandy, Gascony, Aquitaine
What did Eleanor and Henry drink to celebrate their marriage?
Ch. d'Issan from Margaux
When was the Hundred Years War? How did it start and end?
1337-1453 (Late Middle Ages)
King Edward III of England refused to pay homage to Philip of Valois, King of France
French reclaimed Bordeaux when John Talbot lost battle of Castillon (Ch. Talbot of St. Julien)
What was the Grand Coutume?
Export tax on sailing vessels departing all ports except Bordeaux
How long did it take to sail from Bordeaux to England?
Bordeaux shipped 900,000 hl (24M gal) wine to England between 1306-1307
During the Middle Ages, were white and black grapes fermented together?
Yes. This light red which became known as claret.
What does claret mean?
England's nickname for red Bordeaux wine.
Derived from French "clairet" meaning clear or brilliant
When did the Bordeaux Chamber of Comerce regulate the barrel size?
In 1854 the barrique was standardized to 225 l (=25 cases)
What is a tonneau?
Measurement of how much wine a ship could carry.
1 tonneau = 2 pipes (or butts)
1 pipe = 2 barriques
Alsace still uses tonneau but other places use tonnage.
Where is the Haut-Pays (High Country)?
Southwest France (those regions south of St. Macaire)
What is the Bordeaux Privilege?
Wine not from Bordeaux was prohibited from the port until Nov 11 (feast of St. Martin)
When was the Bordeaux Privilege rescinded?
When was wine first shiped in corked bottles vs barrels?
When was Bordeaux's first Golden Age?
During the 300 years of English rule started by marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine to Henry Plantagenet
Gave rise to a wealthy merchant class and loyal Anglo-Gallic
What do gentry, bourgeois, and proletariat mean?
Upper, middle, and lower economic classes.
What does Cru mean?
Named winemaking property
Past participle (verb that can be used like an adjective) of croitre, meaning "to grow"
When did Bordeaux produce more white than red wine?
After the Hundred Years War (when the Dutch wanted white wine) until the 1970s
Who asked the Dutch to drain Bordeaux's marshlands? When?
Jean-Baptiste Colbert, King Louis XIV's Minister of Finance
What does palus mean?
Why did the Dutch want white wines from Bordeaux?
They preferred sweet white wines for table and eau-de-vie (water of life).
The high ABV (35%-60%) of distilled wine ("burnt wine" or brandewijn --> brandy) traveled well over long distances.
It took up less volume in a ship's hold and could be reconstituted upon arrival.
When was Bordeaux's second Golden Age?
New markets gave rise to a new mercantile aristocracy, the "nobless de robe" (those who had served in the Bordeaux parliament).
English trade and dwindeled but exports to the Netherlands, the West Indies, the American colonies, and the Baltic countries.
Which property started the tradition of wealthy Bordelais constructing crus (wine estates).
Haut Brion in the 1600s.
Apex in the 1700s.
When did Bordeaux's second Gold Age end?
With the French revoltion in 1789.
The populace attacked the aristocracy and the merchants.
Many crus were broken up and sold.
The Bordeaux wine trade all but stopped.
When was the Napoleonic era?
When did the British re-occupy Bordeaux (briefly)?
Peninsular War (Wellington and Spanish guerillas)
When did Napoleon III announce his coup d'etat?
Dec 1852 (at the Grand Theatre in Bordeaux).
He was a proponent of free trade and re-established ties with England
When did Oidium (Powdery Mildew) arrive in Bordeaux?
What is the cure for Oidium?
When did Phylloxera arrive?
When did Peronospera (Downy Mildew) arrive in Bordeaux?
The 3rd plague... after oidium and then phylloxera.
What was the result of the deep freeze of 1956?
1/4 of vines died; replanted with red grapes (not Malbec)
What is the cure for Peronospera?
Bordeaux Mixture (copper-sulfate)
Where did the Bordelais supplement their supply from?
Haut-Pays, Languedoc, Hermitage, Spain (and dried grapes from Greece and Turkey)
When did the Bordelais decide to delineate a zone of production and why?
1908 because fraud by producers and merchants was rampant.
When did pans to codify appellations get shelved?
Who was the father of the AOC? When?
When did Germany occupy Bordeaux?
What did Professor Emile Peynaud (U of Bordeaux) recommend?
Focus on quality.
Lesser lots and young vines should be bottled under a second label.
When was Bordeaux's third Golden Age?
In 1983, Robert Parker started the Wine Advocate, and touted the 1982 vintage.
When was Bordeaux made a UNESCO World Heritage site?
What did Victor-Marie Hugo (1802-1885) say about Bordeaux?
"take Versailles, add Antwerp, and you have Bordeaux"
How many times has the French government left Paris and moved to Bordeaux?
1870 (before the advance of the Prussians)
1914 and 1940 (before the advance of the Germans)
What percent of AOC wine does Bordeaux produce?
How much AOC vineyard area is in Bordeaux and how many vignerons work it?
117,500 hectares (292,500 acres) is worked by 13,000 vignerons.