The Appellation

Location

On the Right Bank of the Dordogne and Garonne rivers, 35 km North of Bordeaux (and 20 km via the river). The Côtes de Bourg vineyards stretch over 15 communes, all within the same administrative district. location

An outstanding terroir

Terroir consists of all the factors that make up an ecosystem: – Soil and subsoil (pedology and geology) – Climate – Topography – History – Plant material (grape variety and rootstock) – and the winegrower’s work in the vineyard!

A favourable mesoclimate

A mesoclimate reflects the influence of a specific geographical area on its climatology.

What makes the Côtes de Bourg special compared to the overall Bordeaux climate: -approximately 10% more sunshine, – extremes of temperature that are less by 1-2°C
(a higher sum of temperatures equivalent to Sauternes, Pessac Léognan, Margaux, and Saint-Emilion), – 10 to 25% less rain depending on the year.The Gironde Estuary acts as a thermal buffer (protecting the vines from frost in 1991, for instance).

History

Historians date winegrowing in Bourg from around the 2nd century AD, when Romans planted the first Vitis biturica vines – the ancestors of today’s Cabernet. Bourg harbor was used to ship the local wine in the Middle Ages, and vineyards along the estuary grew to keep pace with increasing demand and trade along the river.

One of the oldest AOCs in Bordeaux: – The Côtes de Bourg, Bourg, and Bourgeais appellations were created in 1920 – The official government decrees confirming the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) were signed on 11th September 1936 for red wines and 19th May 1945 for the whites.

Winegrowers

400 producers, including:
2/3 independent winegrowers

Average area under vine: 10 hectares mostly consisting of traditional family structures

1/3 cooperative members

mostly with very small vineyards (< 5 hectares)

4 cooperative cellars (23% of the appellation’s total volume)

– The Cave du Bourgeais in Gauriac – Alliance Bourg (with 3 sites in Lansac, Pugnac, and Bourg-Tauriac) – the Vignerons de Tutiac – Châteaux Solidaires

Wine Tourism

Have a look at all various options Bourg Tourit Office and Maison du Vin offer you to discover our region :

Wine Tourism in Côtes de Bourg

www.tourisme.bourg-en-gironde.fr

 

Production

Maximum authorised yield = 54 hl/ha

Area under vine

3,950 hectares with red wine varieties / 29 hectares with white wine varieties

Average annual production

180,000 hl of red wine – 1,200 hl of white wine

Sales

– 1/3 sold in bulk, 1/3 bottled by the wine merchants, and 1/3 bottled at the estate
– 85% of production is sold in France (mostly to the on trade and supermarkets)
– the percentage of exports is constantly rising

« A concentration of the greatest terroirs in Bordeaux »

Limestone bedrock in the Côtes de Bourg can be as much as 20 metres thick. This is covered with a thick layer of clay that becomes thinner as one goes eastward. Red gravel from the Massif Central carried along by the river was deposited on rises during the Pliocene Epoch.

 

There are 3 major soil types:

SOIL ON QUATERNARY SIL

Very specific to the Côtes de Bourg, this soil type is found on rises due to its origin: hydro-eolian silt from the Würm glaciation. It is easily recognisable thank to its sienna-red colour. Merlot and Malbec are most often planted here. Deep rooting makes up for a certain lack of organic matter and low water retention potential.

SOIL ON SAND AND CLAY

This is the predominant soil in the Côtes de Bourg. Some scientists explain their presence as “the remains of a sublacustrian delta”. Both Merlot and Cabernet are planted here according to the natural richness and rooting depth of specific plots, which can vary a great deal.

CLAY-LIMESTONE SOIL

This type of soil is fairly widespread due to the parent rock called Molasse du Fronsadais, recognisable thanks to asteriated limestone from the Stampian Age. Merlot is mostly planted on these soils with more shallow rooting and greater water retention.

A unique topography

« Bordeaux’s little Switzerland »

This name reflects the appellation’s hilly topography, since the French word côtes means “slopes”.

Grape varieties

A blend of grape varieties

red Côtes de Bourg (approx. 4,000 ha)

– Merlot 65 %
– Cabernet Sauvignon 20 %
– Malbec 10 %
– Cabernet franc 5 %

white Côtes de Bourg (25 ha)

– Sauvignon blanc 41 %
– Colombard 23 %
– Sémillon 23 %
– Muscadelle 8 %
– Sauvignon gris 5 %

The revival of Malbec

One of the appellation’s historically-important varieties and a worthy part the blend
the highest percentage of Malbec of in any Bordeaux appellation
This variety has been closely studied in the Côtes de Bourg for over a decade (thanks to the Association de Développement Agricole et Rural and the Mercier vine nursery).
Since 2007, mass selection has obtained a “Côt de Bourg” (a play on words, because Côt is another name for Malbec) well-suited to Bourg’s terroir.

Planting of an experimental plot with 20 different clones in July 2009. Grapes were first harvested here in 2014.