Entre-Deux-Mers wines - Bordeaux Vineyard
Entre-Deux-Mers is one of the 6 wine-making regions of the Bordeaux vineyard.
The Intra duo Maria - between two seas meaning between two rivers - is a triangular tableland encompassed between the Dordogne and Garonne Rivers.
The Entre-Deux-Mers is a country of rolling hills, small valleys or combes, meadows and forests crisscrossed by a multitude of brooks and rivers.
Vineyards grow on the slopes, however, unlike the rest of the Bordelais, the region is not exclusively devoted to viticulture.
Indeed, cereals and orchards represent a vast part of the agricultural production.
The Romans planted the vast Entre-Deux-Mers 20 centuries ago and the monks developed it during the Middle Ages.
The region was indeed on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela.
Pilgrims from England and Germany therefore stopped-over at the Abbey of Sauve-Majeure and enjoyed the sweet white wine produced by the monks!
Entre-Deux-Mers - 12 AOC-AOP
The Entre-Deux-Mers wines include 12 AOC-AOP:
Bordeaux, Bordeaux Supérieur, Cadillac, Côtes de Bordeaux, Côtes de Bordeaux-Saint-Macaire, Crémant de Bordeaux, Entre-deux-Mers, Graves de Vayres, Loupiac, Pemières Côtes de Bordeaux, Sainte-Croix-du-Mont and Sainte-Foy-Bordeaux
And 2 IGP – Atlantique and Périgord
The Entre-deux-mers region boasts a wide array of soils.
These indeed range from limestone to clay, clay-limestone, silica, compact sand, alluvium and gravel.
As a result, they produce an impressive selection of vivacious, fruity and well balanced wines.
Entre-Deux-Mers wines remained sweet, sometimes very sweet, white wines until the 1950s.
However, the association of local winegrowers obtained the edification of a decree of control that defined the new characteristics for their wine.
They therefore restructured the vineyard.
Many switched from white to red grapes, and all adapted the varieties to the nature of the soil, improved their methods of culture and wine making techniques and modernized their installations.
They also redefined their white wine by establishing a residual level of sugar, which could not be superior to 4g per liter.
Today the re-conversion 'red to white' is quite a success, as the production of red wine is slightly superior to that of white.
The last 15 years were marked by a very neat improvement of the production quality paired with a clear identification of the product.
Wines are indeed bottled at the property or château.
The average vineyard stretches over 20 hectares.
However, only the white wines have so far been granted the AOC Entre-Deux-Mers - despite this neat conversion from white to red.
These white wines are indeed delicious and considered excellent value for money.
Subtle in taste, fresh and fruity with a fine bouquet, they also seduce by their delicate pale color.
They should be drunk young and served at 8C° with seafood or desserts.
Entre-Deux-Mers reds were granted the appellation Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur.
Cadillac is not only a car!
It's a mellow white wine produced on the best plots of the Premières Côtes de Bordeaux.
Their geographical location is indeed more conducive to the appearance of the Noble Rot.
Cadillac wine has a golden colour that turns amber with age.
It is a structured wine with complex and dense aromas of candied fruit and flowers.
It keeps at least 10 years and should be served with foie gras.
The whitish crystals or gravelle that sometimes form in the bottom of the bottle are normal.
These are indeed due to the crystallization of tartaric acid common in this type of wine.
Cadillac is a genuine moelleux Bordeaux that comes at very affordable price; it's therefore excellent value for money!
Côtes de Bordeaux Saint-Macaire
Côtes de Bordeaux Saint-Macaire is a 50ha vineyard located north of Langon.
It produces dry, soft and sweet whites from Sémillon, often associated with Muscadelle.
The dry whites are lively, simple and balanced wines.
The sweet moelleux are produced from grapes affected by the Noble Rot and should be served with foie gras and desserts.
Graves de Vayre
The Graves de Vayre are produced on the south bank of the Dordogne, between Libourne and Bordeaux.
The 650ha vineyard grows on gravels (graves) and produces red and dry white wines.
The reds are garnet with purple hues and have aromas of red and black fruits.
They are round wines with fine and well integrated tannins.
They should be drunk within 5 years of production and served at 16C° with red meat.
The dry whites are superb and have a light straw colour with green hues.
They are fresh, lively and round wines with beautiful aromas of flowers and citrus.
They keep about 3 years and should be served at 8C° with seafood or as aperitif.
Loupiac and Sainte-Croix-du-Mont
Loupiac and Sainte-Croix-du-Mont are superb sweet white wines produced from Sémillon affected by the Noble Rot.
These fine wines have a wonderful golden colour with dark golden hues and notes of candied fruit and spices.
The Loupiac great vintages keep more than 20 years and the Sainte-Croix-du-Mont keep over 30 years!
According to wine experts, they should be served at 9C° with duck foie gras - not goose foie gras!
Sainte-Foy is the easternmost vineyards of the Entre-Deux-Mers; it was granted an AOC in 1937.
It produces red and dry, sweet and mellow whites of excellent quality over an area of 370 hectares.
Sainte-Foy rouge is dark red with dark purple hues and has aromas of ripe black fruits that evolve in floral and woody notes.
It is a dense and round wine with established yet fine tannins.
It keeps from 5 to 10 years depending on the vintages and should be served at 16C° with lamb.
Sainte-Foy blanc is pale yellow with green or golden hues depending on the vintages.
It is a delicate, supple, round, smooth and fresh wine with floral notes; it keeps 5 years and should be served at 11C° with fish and seafood.
Sainte-Foy sweet white is produced from over-ripened grapes.
It therefore has aromas of ripe peaches and apricots with floral notes; this is a light and fresh yet smooth and round wine.
Sainte-Foy Liquoreux (sweet) is produced from grapes affected by the Noble Rot which produces complex aromas of fruit jellies and honey with floral notes.
This is a dense but not heavy wine with persistent aromas.
It keeps 10 years depending on the vintage; it should be served at 8C° with foie gras and dessert or as aperitif.
Entre-Deux-Mers is a great area worth discovering, while touring the vineyard.
It indeed boasts several bastides, charming villages, fortified windmills, dovecotes, chapels and abbeys nestled among the vineyards.
The 13th century Créon bastide is an active agricultural market and the capital of the Entre-Deux-Mers.
The bastide of Sauveterre-de-Guyenne was founded in 1281.
Built on a plan grid plan and laid out around a central square, it is still protected by ramparts and accessible via four gates.
The Romanesque church of St-Genès-de-Lombaud was erected on the site of a Roman villa.
Its contains a Black Virgin statue that gave rise to a popular pilgrimage.
The little town of Sadirac has been a major pottery centre since the 18th century; its museum retraces the history of pottery produced with the local blue clay.
St. Gérard founded La Sauve Abbey in 1079.
The 12th century St-Pierre church was left to fall to ruins after the French Revolution.
However, the consequent vestiges are a perfect illustration of Romanesque and Gothic architecture.
Castelviel Church is worth the detour for its superb Romanesque doorway.
Amazingly, the ruined fortified Blasimon Abbey still boasts a superb 16th century open-work belfry gable.
The building's 12th-13th century architecture reflects the transition from Romanesque to Gothic styles.
Rauzan is a nice little market town which unfolds next to its ruined 12th century castle.
The superb round keep boasts superb views over the surrounding countryside.
Photos via Wikimedia Commons: header CC BY-SA 3.0 - Gironde map CC BY-SA 2.5 - Bordeaux wine region CC BY-SA 3.0 - Entre Deux Mers wine CC BY-SA 3.0 - Blasimon Abbey CC BY-SA 3.0 - La Sauve Abbey ruins CC BY-SA 3.0 - Cadillac wine CC BY-SA 2.0
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