Bordeaux Offers Unexpected Rosé & Crémant Styles as Region Produces a Growing Range of New Wave Wines
Bordeaux rosé, crémant blanc and crémant rosé have grown in popularity as young and innovative winemakers highlight new expressions with historic varieties
Bordeaux winemakers are offering a new wave of wine styles that represent an unexpected discovery for trade and consumers more often familiar with the region’s celebrated reds. These include Bordeaux rosé, crémant blanc (sparkling white wine) and crémant rosé (sparkling rosé), categories that have grown in popularity as young and innovative winemakers highlight new expressions with historic varieties. Adding to their appeal, Bordeaux rosé and crémant wines represent high quality-to-value for consumers looking for the latest offerings.
Bordeaux offers a full and varied selection of rosé and crémant from three appellations: AOC Rosé de Bordeaux, AOC Bordeaux Clairet and AOC Crémant de Bordeaux. Of the various styles, Bordeaux rosé accounted for 19.1 million bottles in 2022; white crémant for 8 million bottles; crémant rosé for 4 million bottles; and Clairet for 2 million bottles. Located near the cool influence of the Atlantic, Bordeaux’s regional appellations encompass a wide variety of soils and microclimates that support an exceptional range to cater to many consumer preferences.
BORDEAUX ROSÉ: AN UNEXPECTED WAY TO DISCOVER BORDEAUX
The new wave of Bordeaux rosés offers a collection of bright, lively, fruity and elegant wines. Bordeaux rosés have many appealing characteristics, such as a pale pink color with notes of red fruit and a full breadth on the palate.
Rosé production in Bordeaux makes up 10,378 acres (7 acres per estate on average), managed by 1,220 winegrowers, merchants and cooperative cellars backed by generations of family history. The Entre-deux-Mers region represents more than 70% of Bordeaux rosé production. Bordeaux produced 161,000 hectoliters (22 million bottles) of rosé in 2021.
Bordeaux rosés are predominantly blended, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot as their most represented grapes. Similar to the vinification of the region’s popular dry white wines, whole or destemmed grape bunches are directly pressed with minimum skin contact to retain aromatic, lightly-hued rosés that are ideal for drinking within two years.
Clairet is produced exclusively in the unique appellation of AOC Bordeaux Clairet. Produced since the 15th century, Clairet is considered the ancestor of Bordeaux rosé, and is currently produced by 156 winegrowers across 1,111 acres. Noteworthy for their depth and deep-pink color, Clairet wines are made with longer skin contact resulting from at least 24 to 48 hours of maceration time as compared to other rosés. The resulting product combines the light tannins of red wine with the freshness of rosé.
Bordeaux rosé is a versatile style that complements many food pairings from light appetizers and seafood, to charcuterie, pizza and fruity desserts.
BORDEAUX CRÉMANTS: A FANTASTIC SUCCESS STORY
Crémant de Bordeaux has presented a compelling success story as production has tripled over the last decade. Though two-thirds of overall crémant production is white, crémant rosé has drawn a stronger demand: Crémant rosé has seen a 387% increase (from 800,000 bottles to 4 million) in the past ten years, while white crémant has grown 343% (1.8 million bottles to 8 million). Crémant blanc production in Bordeaux spans 240 winegrowers across 2,243 acres, while crémant rosé spans 100 winegrowers across 630 acres.
Bordeaux’s crémants are made in both white and rosé styles, offering a diverse range of sparkling wines from regional appellations. Although Bordeaux has a long history of crémant production dating back to the 1800s, the Crémant de Bordeaux appellation was officially established in 1990, making it one of the region’s youngest.
Now, a new generation of Bordeaux winemakers is reinventing the traditions of Crémant de Bordeaux by adding a touch of modernity, festivity and accessibility. Styles include blanc de blancs (crémant made exclusively from white grapes) and blanc de noir (crémant made exclusively from red grape varieties with white grape juice). Crémants can be produced from all Bordeaux grape varieties and are primarily made from red Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Carmenère, Malbec, and Petit Verdot, and white Muscadelle, Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc.
A global leader in winemaking sustainability practices, Bordeaux rosé and crémant categories offer consumers many environmentally friendly wine options. 75% of the Bordeaux vineyard area is covered by a certified environmental approach, and many wines are certified as Organic, High Environmental Value (HVE), Demeter (biodynamic), or Terra Vitis.