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Bordeaux wine history

Looking at the Bordeaux of today, it is difficult to imagine that around 300 BC a Gallic Tribal chieftain called Burdial decided to establish a settlement on this spot. The new name of this obscure warrior lived on, in somewhat adulterated for, as “Bordeaux”.

Bordeaux wine production seems to have begun sometime after 43 AD, during the Roman occupation of Gaul, when the Romans established vineyards to cultivate wine for the soldiers. However, it is only in 71 AD that Pliny the Elder recorded the first real evidence of vineyards in Bordeaux.The area's location along the Gironde estuary provided an ideal trade route with the British Isles. Wine historian, Roger Dion, has theorized that the first vine cuttings that the Romans brought to Bordeaux originated in the Rioja region of Spain. The early budding of the Bordeaux wine industry suffered a number of disruptions following the fall of Rome. Seens many tribes and nations have tried to occupy, the city and the land, including the Visigoths, the Arabs and the Normans, but none with as much success as the English. When, in 1152, Henry Plantagenet married Eleanor, duchess of Aquitaine, he acquired the whole of southwest France. In 1154 he became king of England, and his French possessions continued to belong to the English crown until 1453 when the English were expelled from France. During that period Bordeaux wine was very popular in England, where it was known as claret. Even then, the quality was closely protected – anyone found stealing grapes lost an ear, as did anyone interfering with the wine or making sub-standard casks.

Bordeaux map 

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