Bordeaux not ‘too expensive’

Bordeaux’s new advertising campaign has been designed to dispel the notion that the region is too expensive and too complicated according to Allan Sichel.


A poster from the new promotional campaign for Bordeaux

“We want Bordeaux to be accessible, and we are trying to correct two misconceptions,” began CIVB vice-president Allan Sichel, during a meeting with the drinks business in Bordeaux last week.

Continuing he said that consumer research had shown that Bordeaux was widely perceived as “too expensive” and “too complicated”, before commenting that, “people feel they don’t have the required knowledge to drink Bordeaux”.

Sichel said that both were myths, and dispelled the first by reminding db that just 3% of Bordeaux’s annual production by volume is from grands crus classés châteaux. “We are proud of the expensive wines, but they are only 2-3% of production, so 97% of the volume of Bordeaux is not expensive and does provide a very good price to quality ratio”.

He also dismissed the idea that the region is too complicated, but admitted that the appellation offers a broad range of wine styles.

“We are trying to say that Bordeaux is not complicated, but diverse, and you’ve got to start looking.”

The campaign, which comprises a series of colourful, abstract images focused on the “technical aspects of wine” (pictured above and bottom), was unveiled last month and replaces the region’s former promotional images, which were linked with the strapline: ‘Good food would choose Bordeaux’ (see image, right).

Good Food Would Choose Bordeaux

The previous campaign for Bordeaux focused on its food-matching capabilities

As previously reported by db, the CIVB is also increasing its promotion of white Bordeaux.

“There is a desire to put a strong emphasis on Bordeaux’s white wines and gain recognition for them,” said Sichel.

Noting the small proportion of Bordeaux hectarage given over to Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, he said that only the best white wine producing vineyards have survived in the region.

“40 years ago, white wine producing vineyards were 50% of the appellation, but today they are just 8%, and 2-3% of that is for sweet whites, so those who have stuck to making dry white wines are on top white winemaking terroir and white wine specialists,” he said.

Bordeaux promo poster

The new campaign is designed to focus on the ‘technical aspects’ of Bordeaux according to Allan Sichel

2 Responses to “Bordeaux not ‘too expensive’”

  1. Allen Murphey says:

    For the most part, the wines of Bordeaux are about as straightforward as a region can be. There is only one Chateau Latour, Petrus, Graville Lacoste, etc. The notion of Leoville Las Cases purchasing grapes to produce wine from another Chateau property is nonsense. For the most part, Bordeaux is all about wines that are produced and bottled by a single estate.

    Obstacles exist that may appear mysterious to those trying to learn about the specific apellations with regard to the wines produced within a specific region itself. The way it was explained to me many years ago is that there is the “Left Bank” wines, that are predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon. These are the wines of the Medoc which includes St. Estephe, Pauillac, St. Julien and Margaux. Then there is the “Right Bank” wines that are Merlot, and/or Cabernet Franc dominated and include St. Emilion/Fronsac (Cabernet Franc dominated), Pomerol (Merlot dominated), and Graves/Pessac-Leognan (a combination of Cab Franc and Merlot). Everything else: Cotes de Blaye, Cotes de Bourg and Bordeaux Superieur are predominantly Merlot. Lastly, and most importantly, these are rules of thumb – not absolutes. Geology of the soils, and the vineyard’s geography is what determines why these vines are planted where they are.

    I think that promoting the affordability of Bordeaux wines is long overdue. In the US, the headlines in the electronic media forum seem to focus on the strength of pricing for the top 20 or so wines produced in Bordeaux that are highly collectible. Of the wine drinkers in the world today, what percentage of the aforementioned are purchasing $100 bottles of wine with any regularity? And yet it seems to me that the majority of the articles I see are about the “Sale of a case of ’47 Cheval Blanc”. Gee, had I only known it was for sale! I guess I don’t travel with the right company. If you want your average Joe to drink Bordeaux wines, don’t make them feel that the only good quality wines are way out of their price range.

  2. John Lea says:

    “For the most part, Bordeaux is all about wines that are produced and bottled by a single estate.”


    What about Bordeaux’s 36 co-operative wineries, four co-operative unions and branded wines produced by approx. 300 negociants. There is more to Bordeaux than single estates. (But I do agree completely with your last paragraph.)

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