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Regional Bordeaux AOCs

In the Bordeaux wine region there is a number of Regional Appellations d'origine contrôlées (AOCs) that may be used throughout the region. These are Bordeaux AOC, Bordeaux Supérieur, Bordeaux Clairet, Bordeaux Rosé, Bordeaux Sec and Bordeaux Moelleux. They primarily represent the basic level of red, rosé and white wines of the region, and represent the largest production volume among the AOC wines of Bordeaux. The production area allowed to use these AOC covers the entire region, including those areas which also have access to more geographically delimited and prestigious AOCs.

These AOCs are often called generic because they do not indicate a specific subregion or commune within Bordeaux as the source of the wine. Large parts of the Bordeaux region can only use the generic appellations. Most Bordeaux AOC is produced within the Entre-Deux-Mers subregion.

Like all other AOCs in Bordeaux, even the simplest generic Bordeaux AOC wines are allowed to display the text Grand Vin de Bordeaux - Great wine of Bordeaux.

Wine style

Most Bordeaux AOC, red and dry white, is a simple and fruity everyday wine and is meant for early consumption rather than cellaring. More ambitious reds are usually sold as Bordeaux Supérieur AOC. Sweet white wines and Rosés must use other generic appellations than Bordeaux AOC.

Notable exceptions to the general rule of Bordeaux AOC as simpler wines are some dry white wines produced in Médoc and Sauternes, where the production of respectively red and sweet wines dominate. In difference from most of Graves, these areas are not allowed to use any other designation than Bordeaux AOC for dry white wines. Thus, some very ambitious and expensive dry white wines, such as Château Margaux's Pavillon Blanc and Château d'Yquem's "Y" have to be classified as "simple" Bordeaux AOCs.

Grape varieties

For red wines, the most planted grapes are Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Cabernet Franc is not as common but also authorized. Petit Verdot and Malbec are scarce.

For white wines, Sauvignon blanc and Sémillon each represent 42% of the vineyard surface and Muscadelle 9%.

Bordeaux Supérieur AOC

The Bordeaux supérieur appellation covers the same geographic area as Bordeaux AOC. However, the wine in this appellation is produced by older vines. Moreover, Bordeaux supérieur wines must be raised at least for twelve month before they can be sold.

Bordeaux Clairet AOC

Bordeaux clairet is a generic AOC for the Bordeaux defined as "clairet". All other appellations in the Bordeaux region, including the most prestigious ones, are entitled to produce under this AOC. Bordeaux clairet is a wine which can either be described as a dark rosé wine or a light-coloured red wine. As there is also a more commonly used Bordeaux rosé designation, Bordeaux clairet is not simply any rosé from Bordeaux.

Bordeaux clairet wines are similar in colour to the wines which were shipped from Bordeaux to England during the Middle Ages, known as French Claret. These wines established the fame of Bordeaux as a wine-making region, and led to the (primarily British) practice of referring to Bordeaux as "claret". They are refreshing wines, appreciated because they can be easily enjoyed with picnics or exotic food.

Grape varieties

The authorized grape varieties are the same as red Bordeaux AOC although Merlot is the most common of this AOC.