Thursday, 28 January 2021

All change in Bordeaux vineyards

Reacting to climate change, Bordeaux wine producers are now able to use six newly approved grape varieties in their releases.

The Institut National de l’Origine et de la Qualité (INAO) this week officially approved the use of four new red and two new white wine grape varieties in the region.


The announcement by INAO, a division of France’s Ministry of Agriculture, represents the culmination of over a decade of research by wine scientists and growers of Bordeaux to address the impact of climate change.

The four reds are arinarnoa, castets, marselan and Touriga Nacional and two the whites are alvarinho and liliorila. 

In addition to the six new varieties, AOC specifications also allow six benchmark red varieties – cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, malbec, carménère (rarely used) and petit verdot – and up to eight white varieties: semillon, sauvignon blanc, sauvignon gris, muscadelle, colombard, ugni blanc (also known as trebbiano), merlot blanc and mauzac (known in Australia as ondenc).

Over 52 varieties were subjected to intense scrutiny over the past decade, with only six making the final cut. Petit manseng, heavily tipped to be included, missed out. 

Under the revised national guidelines, the six additional Bordeaux grape varietals were named “new varieties of interest for adapting to climate change”.

They are limited to 5% of the planted vineyard area; cannot account for more than 10% of the final blend of any given colour; and as such, per legal regulations for labelling, will not appear on Bordeaux labels.

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