Learn everything about Cotes de Bourg Bordeaux wine, with a history of the Cotes de Bordeaux appellation, a look at the style and character of the wines, with detailed profiles on all the best wines, wineries, vineyards and winemakers, with wine tasting notes, histories and buying guides for all the best wines and vintages.
For a look at other, important Bordeaux value wine regions: Bordeaux Value Wine Appellation Guide
Cotes de Bourg is one of the oldest wine producing regions in France. In fact, Cotes de Bourg has a history dating back to the days of the Ancient Romans. This was due to its strategic, geographical location in the Bourg, which is a port.
The port offered a natural situation to locate the wine trade in, due to the ease in shipping. This is because the Cotes de Bourg provides access to both the Dordogne and Garonne rivers which empties into the Atlantic ocean. The sloping hills were perfect for the Romans to plant grapes, create wineries, provide sustenance for their legions of thirsty soldiers and of course to ship their goods.
It’s easy to find ancient ruins from the regions formative years when it was part of the vast Roman empire. Archaeological diggings and studies are still taking place. If you’re in the area, it’s worth a visit for history buffs.
The modern era for the Cotes de Bourg starts in 1936, when the appellation was created by the INAO. The region takes its name from the historic town of Bourg sur Gironde. Cotes de Bourg is a massive region with 3,884 hectares under vine.
Close to 400 growers are active producing wine in the Cotes de Bourg appellation. There are also 4 large cooperatives, which purchase close to 25% of the harvest from various growers each vintage.
The appellation consists of more than 15 communes including: Bayon sur Gironde, Bourg, Comps, Gauriac, Lansac, Mombrier, Prignac, Marcamps, Pugnac, St. Ciers de Canesse, Saint Seurin de Bourg, Saint Trojan, Samonac, Tauriac, Teuillac and Villeneuve.
In 2009, when the other Cotes appellations formed a new Bordeaux AOC, Cotes de Bordeaux, vintners in Cotes de Bourg declined to participate. In 2015, the region received bad news. After reports of almost 2 dozen people becoming ill, due to pesticide treatments in the region.
Starting in late 2015, after the harvest, and continuing into 2016, producers in Cotes de Bourg became the first appellation in Bordeaux to plant rows of hedges to help reduce future risks to people from pesticide spraying.
Cotes de Bourg can produce some good wines. The Cotes de Bourg also produces a limited amount of dry, white Bordeaux wine. It is one of the few Bordeaux appellations with plantings of Colombard and Ugni Blanc grapes which are used in the production of inexpensive, dry, white, Bordeaux wine.
The vineyards are connected to the quaint Bourg-sur-Gironde village. You can easily get to the Cotes de Bourg by car, or if you’re in the Left Bank, you can take the ferry which only takes about 20 minutes. The ferry departs from the Haut Medoc appellation, located just across the river, near Chateau Lamarque.
The region of Cotes de Bourg is littered with variable terroir. At its best, there are vineyards with clay and limestone soils.
However, much of the terroir is situated on sand, clay, gravel and limestone soils. Cotes de Bourg is a cooler, marine climate terroir with close proximity to the where the Garonne and the Dordogne rivers intersects.
The cool climate and naturally moist conditions of the appellation can make it difficult for the grapes to achieve full ripeness, especially in difficult, cold or rainy vintages.
Red Bordeaux wine and white Bordeaux wine are produced in the Cotes de Bourg appellation. However, more than 98% of all the wine that comes from the Cotes de Bourg is red wine.
For the red wine, Merlot is the key grape that takes up close to 65% of all the vines in the appellation, this is followed Cabernet Franc, making those two grape varieties the two most important grapes in the region.
You will find that all 5 of the major Bordeaux grape varietals are planted in the Cotes de Bourg. So of course you will also find Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petit Verdot planted in the Cotes de Bourg as well.
Let’s go back to the Malbec grape for a moment because part of what really shapes the wines from the Cotes de Bourg appellation is the heavy concentration and reliance of Malbec, which takes up close to 10% of the all the vines planted in the entire Cotes de Bourg appellation.
That makes the Cotes de Bourg the appellation with the highest concentration of Malbec in all of Bordeaux. If you think 10% of the region being devoted to Malbec is high, during the mid-1800’s, close to 80% of Cotes de Bourg was planted to Malbec, before those vines were decimated by phylloxera.
Today there is a push to have it back to at least 10% of all plantings. They have been in partnership with a local nursery to develop 25 genetically-diverse clonal selections since 2007 (working w Cahors & Argentina
In fact, there are producers in the region that make wines from using 100% Malbec in the blend!
For the white Bordeaux wine, which as we mentioned, takes up less than 2% of all the vines cultivated in the entire Cotes de Bourg region, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle and Semillon are the dominant grapes planted here. But you also find lesser known grapes such as; Colombard and Ugni Blanc planted in the vineyards as well. In fact, Cotes de Bourg has the largest percentage of Colombard planted in the entire Bordeaux region.
For more information on the Cotes de Bourg appellation www.cotes-de-bourg.com