The Médoc is an appellation found west of the Gironde, north of Bordeaux. The limit is in the city of Jalle de Blanquefort. It is sometimes seen as the land of aristocrats and prestigious wines .. At the same time, the reasons are numerous.
The Medoc is a vast vineyard of 16,000 hectares producing 100 million bottles per year. These bottles still represent 15% of Bordeaux vineyards. There are very famous appellations all over the world like Margaux or Saint Julien.
There are no less than 600 castles and 1,000 brands (in cooperative cellars and trading company mainly), so that you can find both luxurious castle, but also and especially the small vineyard of the local peasant.
In the field of Médoc, we find the following appellations:
- Sub-regional appellations: Médoc, Haut-Médoc.
- Municipal appellations: Margaux, Saint-Julien, Saint-Estèphe, Pauillac, Moulis, Listrac.
Obviously, the best known here are the appellations Médoc and Haut-Médoc. They sell by themselves, 2/3 of sales in the region.
You may have recognized them in the appellations, there are in the Medoc appellations that produce among the most expensive and most prestigious wines in the world, including Margaux and Pauillac, where bottles can easily cost more than one minimum wages in the good years (hence the aristocracy).
In case you are very rich and want to have fun, here are the most prestigious châteaux:
- Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac ;
- Latour, Pauillac ;
- Margaux, Margaux ;
- Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac
Price range :
Apart from these overpriced wines, the vast majority of Médoc bottles will be between € 10 and € 20, which remains accessible to taste wines of very good quality.
Particularity of the Médoc:
Obviously, the region had to be noticed. She has some peculiarities that she would not share for anything in the world:
- Cru Bourgeois: In the world of wine, there is a legendary classification listing the “best castles of the Bordeaux area”: the classification of 1855 (by the way, the 4 castles mentioned above are part of it). This ranking remains unchanged since 1855. So, the other owners of the Médoc estates decided in 1932 to create the label “cru bourgeois” to claim this classification (and let’s say it clearly, to increase their sales). To qualify for “cru bourgeois” today, you have to apply for it every year and comply with the standards in force.
- Cru Artisan: This mention is issued to individual owners (usually a family that produces a wine), which cultivates land of less than 4 hectares.
Anecdotes for the meals:
In the past, the Médoc region was a vast marsh. So, Dutch technicians were called to drain the area and be able to produce the wines. We thank the Dutch.
Bottling is fairly recent in the Médoc (a few decades). Before, the Médoc wines were mainly sold in bulk, that is to say directly in barrels, on the quays of Chartrons in Bordeaux or during the fairs.
What you must remember :
The Médoc region produces red wines very often with great aging potential! I know it is tempting to drink the same bottle that you have just bought, but these wines can be kept for an average of 5 to 15 years. Thus, you will have the guarantee of an optimal quality even if you keep it a few years. Also note that the largest castles produce wines with bluffing potential (more than 50 years old).
Médoc wines are generally structured wines. Young wines therefore have rather aggressive tannins, due to the grape varieties. This is why they are often guards because the older the wine, the softer the tannins.
Médoc wines are perfect with dishes such as roast beef, game or lamb, but also with some cheese rich in taste.
There are many castles in the Medoc. Very much. With the help of a wine merchant or other professionals, you will be able to find excellent wines at very affordable prices!
Now, a bit more technical part:
The soils being quite varied, one will find vines accordingly. We will therefore find:
Cabernet Sauvignon: adapted to gravelly soil, this grape brings structure and fruit to the wine. It also gives a great aptitude for aging. This variety is mainly found in the Haut-Médoc region.
Merlot: adapted to the clay-limestone soil, it will bring the softness and the fruitiness to the assembly. It will be mainly located in the Moulis, Listrac and Saint-Estèphe regions.
Cabernet Franc: also adapted to the clay-limestone soil, it gives the wine a rich bouquet and structure. It will be used in addition to other grapes with a very small dose.
Petit Verdot: adapted to gravelly soils, it gives the wine body and color. It will also be used in addition to bring a finish to the wine.
Let’s now look more specifically at the two sub-regional appellations:
Some numbers :
36 million bottles/year (34% of the Médoc vineyards)
115 crus bourgeois, 9 crus artisans, 3 cooperative cellars
Area of the appellation: according to the texts in force, all the demarcated appellations of the Médoc region, that is to say from the Jalle de Blanquefort to the Pointe de Grave can claim the AOC Médoc. A wine from Saint-Julien, for example, can therefore claim the Médoc appellation, although it is of interest to obtain the Saint-Julien appellation as a sign of better quality. He can also sell his wine much more expensive.
Soil: The vast size of the appellation explains a wide variety of soils. There are, among other things, clay-limestone soils, Garonne gravels and Pyrenean gravel.
Aroma of wines on the nose: Liquorice, red and black berries, coffee roasted with aging.
On the palate: Structured wine, robust, round.
Some numbers :
29.5 million bottles/year (28% of the Médoc vineyards)
97 crus bourgeois, 17 crus artisans, 4 cooperative cellars, 5 classified crus
Area of the appellation: it rises for about 60 kilometers from north to south, from Saint-Seurin de Cadourne to Blanquefort.
Soil: The vast size of the appellation explains a wide variety of soils. However, there is a dominance for Garonne gravels.
Aroma of wines on the nose: Liquorice, red and black berries, some floral and spicy notes.
In the mouth: Structured wine, robust, balanced, powerful.