On my trip to Bordeaux in 2019, I heard, constantly, how Bordeaux is all about tradition and rules. They also had to bad mouth Napa Valley in just about every presentation or tasting. Interestingly, when in Napa, nobody ever mentions France or Bordeaux. I found this highly irritating, and even brought it up to our very knowledgeable guides.
So, try to figure this out!
Food and Wine: As climate change continues to affect the French winemaking industry, the Bordeaux wines we’ve come to know and love may be different, but at least the region is actively preparing for its survival. In 2019, perhaps the world’s best-known wine region proposed adding seven new grape varieties to the six red and eight white varieties already permitted to be used in bottles of Bordeaux. All of the new suggestions were specifically chosen for their potential to flourish even in the less hospitable conditions caused by global warming.
So, it appears they are willing to change the rules, if it affects their pocketbook. What happened to all the rules and tradition? Total bullsh*t if you ask me.
Despite upending generations of tradition, yesterday, France’s Institut National de l’Origine et de la Qualite (INAO) officially approved six of those new varieties, with plantings allowed as soon as this coming season. The decision is billed by the Bordeaux Wine Council (CIVB) as “the culmination of over a decade of research by wine scientists and growers of Bordeaux to address the impact of climate change through highly innovative, eco-friendly measures.”
The newly approved varieties are four reds—Arinarnoa, Castets, Marselan, and Touriga Nacional—and two whites—Alvarinho and Liliorila—all of which are described as “well-adapted to alleviate hydric stress associated with temperature increases and shorter growing cycles.”
Arinarnoa is cross between Tannat and Cabernet Sauvignon created in France in 1956. Castets is a native French variety described as a “long-forgotten Bordeaux grape.” Marselan is a cross between Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache developed in France in 1961. And Touriga Nacional is a late-ripening grape of Portuguese origin. Speaking of which, Alvarinho is the Portuguese name for Albarino, potentially making this new white the best-known variety of the bunch. And finally, Liliorila is a cross between Baroque and Chardonnay, reportedly created in France also in 1956.If it sounds like I am gloating, I am not. But I do sound like “I told you so” since every question I asked was rebuffed with “these are the rules”. So much for rules.
Then this: They then concluded, “Bordeaux winegrowers are planning well ahead in the quest to continue offering consumers aromatic, balanced wines of quality.” They are so kind!!!! Money talks, tradition walks.