Every wine lover most likely knows many things about Bordeaux wines, however, some may not know the following ten tidbits:
1. Unlike Burgundy which names its wines based upon the actual plot of earth on which the grapes are grown, Bordeaux wine names are based upon the chateau that owns the land.
2. Grape varietals never appear on the front label of Bordeaux wine. Often times, however, grape varieties are displayed on the back label.
3. Bordeauxlaw dictates which grapes can be grown in the region.
4. Before the 1960’s Bordeaux was known for white wine production. In 1956 one of the worst frosts ever recorded killed many vines. The region was replanted with red grapes because they were more frost resistant, and also red wine commanded a higher price.
5. Thomas Jefferson was particularly fond of Bordeaux wine. As the American Ambassador to France he visited the region on several occasions and bought beaucoup cases of its wines for himself & colleague George Washington.
6. Russia's Czar was also a devotee of Bordeaux wine. In 1859 he dispatched his brother to to buy wine at Chateau Yquem. By accident the brother was served an 1847 Sauternes, a vintage so terrible that it was not sold as the vintage had been attached by a fungus. Thus began the Czar's love affair with sweet wine attacked by botrytis. The wine was immediately rebranded to "Noble Rot."
7. The most famous vineyards currently in Bordeaux's Medoc used to be swamps. It was only after the area was drained by Dutch engineers in the 17th century that the Rothschild banking family purchased land in the Medoc. The rest is history.
8. Bordeaux is one of the few regions in France that does not produce commercial cheese.
9. Bordeaux is the world's largest fine wine district. (It is 8 times larger than Napa.)
10. Bordeaux is located on the same latitude as Oregon, Piedmont (Italy), and the southern hemisphere's New Zealand.