March 1, 2015 2 Comments
Five Fast Facts about Entre-Deux-Mers
#1 – Entre-Deux-Mers is named after its geographical location (“between two seas”), which refers to its situation in the lands between the Garonne and the Dordogne Rivers. These rivers provide the location with a mild, maritime climate and soils made up mainly of a mix of clay and limestone. The area closest to the eastern shore of the Garonne River has a good deal of humidity – enough for the production of botrytis-affected wines.
#2 – The Entre-Deux-Mers AOC appellation is only approved for white wines. 70% of the grapes must be the “principal varieties” of Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, Muscadelle, or Sauvignon Gris. The other 30% may include Merlot Blanc (maximum 30%), and a combined maximum of 10% of Mauzac, Colombard, and Ugni Blanc.
#3 – The area of Entre-Deux-Mers area contains within it 7* different AOCs. These appellations are approved for a variety of different types of wine. They are:
- The aforementioned Entre-Deux-Mers AOC (for dry white wines)
- Cadillac-Côtes de Bordeaux AOC (botrytis-affected sweet white wines)
- Graves de Vayres AOC (for dry wines, both red and white)
- Loupiac AOC (sweet white wines, may be affected by botrytis)
- Côtes de Bordeaux-Saint-Macaire AOC (white wines, dry (sec), off-dry (moelleux ) and sweet/botrytis affected (liquoreux)
- Sainte-Croix-du-Mont AOC (sweet, botrytis-affected white wines)
- Sainte-Foy-Bordeaux AOC (may be dry, off-dry, or sweet/botrytis affected white; also approved for dry reds)
- Grapes grown in the Entre-Deux-Mers area may also be bottled under the generic Bordeaux AOC or Bordeaux Supérieur AOC
#4 – The area produces a lot of good-to-very good red wine, with the majority of the red grapevines planted to Merlot. The best of these wines are sold under the Bordeaux Supérieur AOC.
#5 – Just-for-fun fact: A house (now sub-divided in apartments) in the area, known as Château de Rastignac, was designed to look like the US White House. While the architect, Mathurin Salat, never visited the United States, it is known that our wine-loving third President, Thomas Jefferson -who had reviewed the original architectural plans of the White House – did visit the area and meet Salat during Jefferson’s service as the US Ambassador to France.
*Some of the references I used for this article claimed that there are 9 different AOCs located within the defined geographic area of Entre-Deux-Mers, while others said 7. (Alas, wine is never simple…) The two “other” AOCs often mentioned are Bordeaux Haut-Benauge and Entre-Deux-Mers Haut Benauge. These two designations certainly exist, and are used for dry white wines. The area of Haut-Benauge, located somewhat in the center of Entre-Deux-Mers itself, surrounds a crumbling hilltop castle – the Château de Benauge – first built in the 11th Century. The AOC documents list the Bordeaux Haut-Benauge AOC as a sub-zone of the Bordeaux AOC, and the Entre-Deux-Mers Haut Benauge AOC as a sub-zone of the E-D-M AOC (there are no separate AOC documents for either). For this reason, I chose to include the two H-B AOCs as sub-zones, and not separate AOCs in my “count” of the AOCs in the region – however – I totally acknowledge that some folks/organizations say the number is 9. No one ever said that wine is easy!
The Bubbly Professor is “Miss Jane” Nickles of Austin, Texas – firstname.lastname@example.org