CIVB: Bordeaux is not ‘old fashioned’

The diversity of Bordeaux and the rise of younger producers in-tune with modern tastes are key to dispelling long-held myths about the region’s wines the Bordeaux Wine Council’s president, Allan Sichel, has said.

Speaking to the drinks business yesterday (30 March), Sichel (pictured) explained that the image of Bordeaux as expensive and complicated were still the chief misconceptions to be overcome.

The first point is “accentuated”, as he said, by the high visibility and much talked-about prices of the grands crus but the vast majority of Bordeaux wine sits comfortably in the £6 to £20 bracket. This is still above the UK average for a bottle of wine (£5.40) but it is a category that is growing.

Sichel said that it was the aim of the CIVB to continue to appeal to the “educated consumer” that was buying in this price segment and to make Bordeaux “accessible and easy to understand”.

With the launch of the global “More to Discover” campaign in late 2014 and an increased social media presence, Sichel said he now felt “we have the tools” to communicate Bordeaux effectively and that progress was being made.

There is perhaps a bigger problem that Bordeaux faces however. The fact remains though that while there is a part of the wine buying public that is more engaged and wine ’literate’, Bordeaux arguably remains a little ‘uncool’ in comparison to wines from Jura or the Loire, Washington state, Australia, South Africa, Italy etc. that are the darlings of sommeliers and the ‘curious drinker’ at the moment.

Bordeaux just doesn’t have, or is seen not to have (whatever one’s opinion of them), the orange wines, ‘natural’ wines, the hip young winemakers or even the quirky, weird and wonderful labels that are the hallmarks of a certain type of wine list or shelf now.

Sichel stresses this isn’t (entirely) the case saying there were an increasing number of young winemakers in Bordeaux who were, “well-travelled, informed and aware” of current tastes and trends and were adapting their wines accordingly.

“Bordeaux is rich in diversity and each grower is cultivating their own identity,” he continued. “We want to show that Bordeaux is not ‘old-fashioned’, that there are lots of young winemakers making wines in line with what young consumers want.”

Changes to winemaking techniques and vineyard work (55% of Bordeaux’s vineyard area is now farmed with an ‘environmental approach’ up from 45% in 2015) were vital to “reinforcing the individuality of each grower,” stressed Sichel. “Bordeaux is not one big mass but the sum of many well-defined parts.”

4 Responses to “CIVB: Bordeaux is not ‘old fashioned’”

  1. Richard says:

    Interesting but not convincing…it is no myth that the system in Bordeaux is designed to protect the status quo of established vested interests.

  2. Charles says:

    Bordeaux at the everyday level has improved immeasurably in recent year and I have made a welcome return to the region I abandoned for the seductive new world wines 20+ years ago. I long since passed over the cru classes as completely out of my price bracket and frankly not worth the money unless you are buying as an investment or you are more intent on impressing than the damage done to your wallet.

  3. Craig says:

    Good to see Bordelaise acknowledge this as a problem. Long way to go!

  4. Nope says:

    As a young Bordelaise, but not a connoisseur in wines, I never put more than 10euro in a bottle (except as gifts).
    I still drink Bordeaux : St Julien, Graves and Moulis-Listrac are quite easy Bordeaux to drink and not that expensive, at least in France.
    The thing is there is many appelation in Bordeaux, some within a quite small area. So maybe the easy, cheap (or average) wines with not much bottles per year are just not really tailored for international export : the shipping costs too important compared to the price tag, volume and quality of the wine.

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