Roughly 2000 years ago the Romans planted vines in the region. And then began drinking... a lot. Things went a bit quiet when the Empire fell (Roman that is - not Darth Vadar's) but things took off again in the 12th century when Eleanor of Aquitaine married Henry Pantagenet, who liked a drop or two. He made it THE drink at the English court. Have the Bordelais ever said thank you? Nope! Not a sausage of gratitude.
Still Bordeaux remained as pretty much swamp ground with patches of vineyard dotted around, until the Dutch came in and cleared the Médoc (it’s largest wine area) so it could be planted with vines. That’s right, the nation that gave us the tulip and clogs, also gave us Bordeaux. Have the French ever said thank you? Not on your nelly.
Anyhoo. That was in the 17th century. Things moved quickly from there (in French terms). The English were back in favour (ie we’d stopped beatin’ their ass in a multitude of wars). And we started shipping it to all our colonies. By the middle of the 19th century, the French decided they needed to work out which Châteaux were the best (ie they could charge extortionate amounts of money for) and which Châteaux were not so good (ie they could charge marginally less for). Hence the 1855 Classification that exists to this day and still governs most Bordeaux properties.
The region is France’s largest wine region. It produces 900 million bottles of wine each year. And they’re not all overpriced nonsense believe it or not. Now 900m sounds a hell of a lot doesn’t it? But if you laid end to end, they wouldn’t even reach half-way to Mercury, the nearest planet to earth, and only a third of the way to the moon. So next time a stuffy wine snob says that a particular bottle of Bordeaux will take to the moon and the stars, you can tell them that’s rubbish and astronomically impossible – even if they do make 900m of the blighters.
All that wine comes from 120,000 hectares of vineyard, and 60 different appellatiions, containing over 7,500 wineries. The largest vineyard is 321ha, the smallest is 0.5ha. So pretty big, and pretty tiny.
You can spend up to £100k for a case of Bordeaux (Chateau Petrus 1998 for example) or as little as £77.70 for six bottles of our Ch Langoiran Cuvee Tradition Rouge 2015. In all honesty and humility we think ours is a little better value. Pretty sure your bank manager would agree.
So there you have it. Bordeaux in a nutshell.