Rich in wines whose worldwide reputation is well established, the "Bordeaux Wine Route in Saint-Émilion, Pomerol, Fronsac" occupies the right bank of the Dordogne, between Bordeaux and Bergerac, as well as the northern part of Entre-Deux-Mers.
The route takes its name from the organic group combining the three major AOC of the same name, it is organized around the port city of Libourne, and thus today forms the region of Grand Libournais. The flagship of the territory is the magnificent medieval city of Saint-Emilion, listed as a world heritage site Unesco as a "Cultural Landscape", and one of the most famous showcases of Bordeaux vineyard.
La « Bordeaux Wine Route in Saint-Émilion, Pomerol, Fronsac » stands out for the great homogeneity of its landscapes, its geology (predominantly limestone subsoil), its concentration of vineyards, and the importance of family farms, small and medium-sized properties, which contrast with the large estates of the “Bordeaux Wine Route in Medoc”.
The Pays Foyen, gateway to Périgord
Also called " Perigord gate“, The Pays Foyen is at the heart of the vineyard AOC of Sainte-Foy-Bordeaux. Sainte-Foy-La-Grande is one of the smallest municipalities in France: it covers 51 hectares almost entirely urbanized; and is located at the eastern end of the Gironde, one hour from Bordeaux , at the confluence of the departments of Dordogne and Lot-et-Garonne.
From the Middle Ages, Sainte-Foy-La-Grande enjoys prosperity thanks to the wine trade which takes place in its port located away from the city, as well as activities linked to the main local production: coopers and marine carpenters who set up their workshops along the river . Under English domination until 1450, the wines of the sector were shipped on barges to Libourne and Blaye to be embarked on ocean-going ships bound for the British Isles.
Castillon-La-Bataille and its Anglo-wine history
The real wine boom of Castillon-la-bataille, downstream from Sainte-Foy-la-Grande, begins in the Middle Ages, notably with the marriage ofEleanor of Aquitaine and Henri Plantagenêt, the city thus becomes a real port stopover and an important fortress is built on the banks of the Dordogne, which allowed the export of its wines to England as well as to Holland.
In the thirteenth century, these wines were highly esteemed and were loaded in full cargoes bound for England. They were also distributed locally at retail and constituted the luxury consumption of the Bordeaux aristocracy. . Bernard Ginestet
By the fact of royal marriages, Aquitaine became a rich English province, attracting the covetousness of the French kings, which contributed to the beginning of a long conflict: the 100 years war. In 1453, the last battle of this war on the hills of Castillon, put an end to English domination after 300 years of reign. It signs the death of the famous General Talbot and the reconquest of Aquitaine by Charles VII. Thus, Castillon remains the symbol of the end of the English presence in Aquitaine.
Before the creation of Appellations of Controlled Origin (AOC) in 1935, the wines produced in this region of Libournais were marketed for a long time under the name " Near Saint Emilionnais ". Today, the main appellation of this region is " Castillon - Côtes de Bordeaux », But it also produces the AOC Entre-Deux-Mers, Bordeaux , Higher bordeaux, and some names of Bergerac.
The jurisdiction of Saint-Emilion
In the heart of Grand Libournais, in a region made up of gentle wine-growing hills and green groves, this magnificent Medieval city camped on a limestone eminence benefits from its location at the crossroads of Bordeaux, Saintonge and Périgord.
The city has a Architectural Heritage and important religious (hermitage, monolithic church, collegiate church, archbishops' palace, opulent buildings et remains of fortifications) which is declined along small alleys and shaded squares, but also enjoys the fame of its wine heritage (Saint-Émilion vineyard) whose wines are among the most sought after in the world.
The medieval city and its "jurisdiction" is listed in World Heritage by theUnesco since 1999 as “Cultural Landscape”. She constitutes " remarkable example of a historic wine-growing landscape that has survived intact " and " illustrates in an exceptional way the intensive cultivation of wine vines in a precisely delimited region ».
Brannais, the gateway to Entre-Deux-Mers
The territory of Brannais extends from the banks of the Dordogne to the plateaux of Entre-deux-Mers, south of Saint-Émilion, between the nearby bastides of Libourne et Sainte-Foy-La-Grande. The diversity of its landscapes interspersed with hills, valleys, natural forests and large vineyards make all the wealth of this region.
Viticulture is here, as in all of the Grand Libournais, very old. The French Revolution, by restoring the freedom of culture, by dividing up the goods of the Church and of the exiled noble, by regrouping the ownership of the ground with that of the right to exploit, here too deeply upset the wine-growing landscape. The Brannais mainly cultivates the Bordeaux & Bordeaux Supérieur appellations, as well asAOC Entre-Deux-Mers.
Libourne, goddaughter of Bordeaux
This ancient country house port founded in the XNUMXth century by Roger of Leyburn, in the center of a rich wine region and at the confluence of the Dordogne et de l'Isle, was designed to become the natural outlet for wines and woods from the Dordogne valley - wines from Saint-Émilion, Pomerol , Bergerac, etc. - exported to England.
For a long time second city in the north of Guyenne after Bordeaux , Libourne maintains ambivalent relations with the latter: "goddaughter" of the Aquitaine capital during the short reign of the Black Prince, she is also its rival in terms of trade or taxation. The kings of England granted to the city of Libourne, as they had done for Bordeaux, a "custom" exempting from customs duties the export of these wines.
For the record, it is said that the paving of the port is made of English stone transported in the boats that came to collect wine. Indeed, these could not come from England empty, it was necessary to ballast them so that they could sail on the Atlantic.
The slopes of Fronsadais
At the crossroads of river and land routes, the Fronsadais, and especially the Mound of Fronsac, has always occupied a strategic position: the Gauls held an important market there, the Romans built an altar there, then, in the year 770, Charlemagne built a mighty fortress there.
Later, during the three centuries of English occupation, Fronsac wines were widely exported to England. In 1663, the Duke of Richelieu decided to acquire the lands of the Duchy of Fronsac, and had a " madness », Theater of the gallant festivals whose echo spread to the court of Louis XIV. Since then, the notoriety of Fronsac wines will not stop expanding. In the XNUMXth century, the qualitative revolution of Libournais wines took its roots here and the rise of world maritime trade largely contributed to establishing the Fronsac vineyard among the noblest in the region. Bordeaux vineyard.
In the XNUMXth century, the wines of Fronsac et Canon Fronsac enjoy the strongest reputation among Libournais wines, Saint-Emilion and Pomerol, then honoring the highest prices. Likewise, in 1750, there were three notables of Fronsac and Canon Fronsac, Messieurs Lafon, Boyer et Mathieu, who are the first to initiate a wine revolution, transforming the vineyard previously made up of " smallholdings " in " raw »Small (ancestor of castles today).