The Art Of
The refinement of Bordeaux seeps into all aspects of its culture, history and lifestyle. Our series of articles is intended to inspire and entertain.
Bordeaux…fascinating, magnetic, even hypnotic. Our region and its riches cast a spell that captivates every corner of the world.
There is no question that an increasing number of foreign producers are coming to Bordeaux, but is this really a new phenomenon? Decidedly not.
As Bordeaux was a major seaport, the audacious local wine merchants found ways to have their products sampled by people from all over the world. And thus it was that, long ago and to this day, this adventurous, entrepreneurial spirit helped establish the reputation of Bordeaux well beyond our borders.
In fact, time shows that Bordeaux’s history has always cherished close ties with the rest of the world. The international reputation of its wines was already quite solid in the Middle Ages, when the Aquitaine became English with Eleanor of Aquitaine marrying the future King Henry II of England. This marked the beginning of lively trade between Bordeaux and the United Kingdom, where the region’s wines were – and still are – so esteemed.
The wines of Bordeaux then won the hearts and palates of the Dutch and other Northern European maritime countries before conquering the New World as transportation advanced, becoming faster and more reliable. Today, the international success of Bordeaux wines is simply irrefutable, as nearly half of our precious liquid is consumed abroad.
But Bordeaux is about more than delighting distant taste buds: It also inspires vocational visions. There are many foreign producers here these days and, though no official survey has ever been carried out, the spectrum of nationalities represented in Bordeaux is dazzling.
The English were the first to invest in Bordeaux. They began arriving en masse in 19th century and many châteaux still bear the names of their owners from across the Channel. When James de Rothschild acquired the already renowned Lafite property in 1868, it had previously passed through the hands of many foreigners, principally Dutch.
Today, with nearly 50 châteaux operated by its nationals, Belgium is the country most invested in Bordeaux vineyards. Some families have been in the region for several generations.
And now the Chinese are finding a home in our beautiful region and have purchased many properties, nearly as many as are under the Belgian flag. As vineyards cannot be relocated, and as life in our region is inimitably sweet, the influx of newcomers is further proof that this fascination with Bordeaux has not waned in the least and will draw admirers, like moths to a flame, for a long time to come.
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- Drinking wine 2.0: Is wine becoming even more social?
- Wine: discourse, lore, and legend
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