Bordeaux and Beyond: Australia’s French Wine Specialist.
Discover your favourite French wines with Bordeaux and Beyond!
Bonjour et Bienvenue à Bordeaux and Beyond your portal into a world of exceptional French Wine and French Cider curated to suit every lifestyle and budget. We may specialise in wines from Bordeaux but we also offer wines from your favourite regions like Alsace, Burgundy, Loire Valley, Rhone Valley, Beaujolais as well as Champagne and have an exquisite range of French Ciders from Brittany.
Perhaps you have been fortunate enough to have spent some time in France and had the opportunity to get a taste of and absorb the unique culture, food, people and of course.. wine. We are primarily dedicated to sourcing wines from the Bordeaux region but whether you are looking for a Margaux, Sancerre, Chablis, Beaujolais, Burgundy Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Provence Rosé or a First Press Champagne we are delighted to offer stunning examples of these plus many more exciting varieties.
We also offer a number of superbly presented gift packed wines which are the ideal Christmas or birthday present.
What makes Bordeaux so special?
Bordeaux.. the mere mention of the word can conjure up a myriad of images.. the region, the rivers, the port town, the chateaux, the wine. Bordeaux is an exceptional place, the undisputed wine capital of the World and home to 57 appellations including icons such as Médoc, St-Émillion, Entre Deux Mers, Pomerol, Fronsac and of course Sauternes.
Bordeaux benefits from its unique combination of Terroir, History, Tradition and Personality. Boasting 290,000 acres of vines, 13,000 growers and some 9,000 Chateaux the wine industry in Bordeaux supports almost 55,000 jobs and on an annual basis produces 700 million bottles representing 40% of all still wine sold around the World.
Bordeaux has enjoyed a long and fascinating history with wine ever since the first vines were planted by the Romans back in 400AD. A continuous evolution born out of more than 2000 years of wine cultivation, production and tradition with some of the most significant and noteworthy developments occurring in the last 400 years.
In the second half of the 16th Century the Dutch had developed a fondness for Bordeaux wines and were the biggest customers outside of France. The Dutch also had a strong presence in the region and it may come as little surprise to learn that it was the Dutch who had the original idea to reclaim from the sea the area we now know as The Médoc or The Left Bank. Originally marshland the Dutch realised the potential and used their engineering prowess to drain the area and in the process discovered rich deposits of gravel and the resulting soil composition makes this one of the best places in the World to grow Cabernet Sauvignon.
During the 17th and 18th Centuries the wine industry continued to Flourish and given it’s riverside location and proximity to the Atlantic ocean, Bordeaux was perfectly placed to harness these assets and become a most important port city giving rise to a proliferation of ‘negociants’ many of whom set up ‘stalls’ along the banks of the river.
In 1855 the ‘Official Classification’ was introduced by Emperor Napoleon III as he wanted a system to showcase the extraordinary quality of the wine from the prestigious Bordeaux region at the ‘Exposition Universelle de Paris’. Originally the producers themselves were given responsibility to rank the wines but as you can imagine this proved somewhat chaotic so the Chamber of Commerce were tasked with the challenge and they ranked each wine based on the price it was commanding at that time.
Although this classification has turned many of these Chateaux into household names (Chateau La Tour, Chateau Lafitte etc) it is not regarded as having been a very fair or equitable system and any vineyards which were in the process of establishing themselves at the time were simply overlooked as were all of the estates on the Right Bank! Many argue that if the classification were to be undertaken again today it would yield a very different set of results however, this will simply never happen and Chateau Mouton de Rothschild from the village of Pauillac remains the only estate to be added to the classification since its introduction. Although these estates drive international recognition for the region these super high-end Bordeaux wines account for only roughly 5% of the production of the region.
Bordeaux is principally made up of 4 distinct wine growing regions (Right Bank, Left Bank, Entre Deux Mers) which are flanked or dissected by the Gironde Estuary which flows into the Atlantic and is joined further upstream by 2 tributary rivers called the Dordogne and the Garonne. The 4th region is Sauterne famous for its deliciously sweet dessert wines and is also located on the Left Bank. The rivers play an incredibly important role in the terroir as they have a warming influence throughout the region even in colder years.
The Left Bank is principally renowned for its rocky, gravel rich soil which lends itself perfectly to the cultivation of Cabernet Sauvignon as it retains heat and drains easily whereas the Right Bank is known for its limestone, sand and clay which provides the ideal conditions for growing Merlot.
What is a classic Bordeaux Blend?
The 3 main grape varieties used in a classic Bordeaux Blend are Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc although Petit Verdot, Malbec and Carménère may be used. Left Bank blends tend to be dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon which brings power, acidity, tannin, structure, spice and ageing capacity. These Left Bank blends can be somewhat austere when compared to Merlot dominant wines from the Right Bank which are more fruit forward and soft with floral notes of violets and rose petal. Cabernet Franc is a perfect interlocutor between these 2 grape varieties as it also brings spice, acidity and ageing capacity.
The blend will also depend on how well each grape variety has performed during that particular vintage and as Merlot tends to ripen earlier than Cabernet Sauvignon the wine maker can offset the impact of a challenging vintage for one variety through carefully blending with other varieties which have had a more favourable vintage. October is the harvest month in Bordeaux and the timing of the harvest is critical in order to obtain the optimum balance of sugars and acidity that can express the true character of the vineyard. Each vineyard is distinct to its terroir and every vintage in Bordeaux is different hence the saying that “Vintage is weather”. With Bordeaux wines it is all about finding the perfect balance in the blend which is both an artform and a science.
Entre Deux Mers is the territory that lies between the Dordogne and Garonne rivers as they converge to meet the larger Gironde estuary. This may be a lesser known region of Bordeaux but is in fact home to the majority of Bordeaux’s vineyards. Interestingly only white wines (Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadel) can use this appellation.
Bordeaux and Beyond is a small, independent and passionate business committed to sourcing the finest wines from Bordeaux as well as Burgundy, Loire Valley, Rhone Valley, Beaujolais as well as Champagne and exquisite French Ciders from Brittany.
We would love for you to join us and be part of this expedition as we explore the history, terroir, traditions, wines and the people behind them.