The Cabernet Franc

He is the ancestor of most of Bordeaux's vines. Originally from the Pyrenees/Basque Country, particularly from Spanish Navarre, introduced and planted in Bordeaux on the first century of our era.

It is what we call a "population grape variety", represented by numerous forms: in the foothills of the Pyrennes: Onderrabi Beltza, Acheria, Ardounet, Bouchy ; In the sandy vineyards of the Landes : Capbreton rouge, Messanges rouge ; In the Bordeaux region : Grosse Vidure, Bouchet, Cabernet Franc and in the Val de Loire : Breton, Noir Dur. From a population of indigenous lambrusques from the humid Pyrenees/Atlantic area, it is difficult to identify parents, as he is the origin of multiple generations. Mid size grapes and fruit.

The Carmenère

The Carmenère N (aka Carmenelle, Cabernelle or Grande Vidure) in Médoc is a part of the historic vine blend. Put to one side in favor of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, it is now the emblematic vine in some countries (Chile 6800 ha), were it is mistaken with Cabernet Franc. It is easy to understand as it is the descendant of Cabernet Franc and Gros Cabernet, both from Navarre. 

This vine founds some new interest in France, and particularly in Bordeaux: 7 ha in 2000, 41 ha in 2011. Mid-size grapes and fruits.

The Cabernet Sauvignon

Very widespread in the French vineyards, as it is in numerous wine producing countries, considering his great adaptability and his capacity to produce high end wines. 

His name comes from the fact that his father was the Cabernet Franc, and his mother the Sauvignon Blanc, from the center of France. 

It became famous at the 16th century, when the quality wines from Bordeaux started to rise. 

Mid siez grapes, small fruits.

The Merlot

This vine, which sounds like it has been in Bordeaux for ever, arrived more recently.

Selected in Gironde around the 18th century, it then developed on a spectacular manner, especially after the great frost of 1956, when most of the vineyards had to be rebuilt.

Its culture then rocketed,  and it became the most cultivated vine in France and in the world.

Its father was also the Cabernet Franc, and its mother the Magdeleine noire des Charentes, a confidential type of grape, found in the Charentes region, where it was cultivated during the middle age. The Magdeleine Noire is a very early vine, and it gave this quality to the Merlot.

Big size grapes and fruits. 

The Cot or Malbec

Coming from the Valley of Loire (Quercy), it has been introduced to Bordeaux (Saint Emilion) in the first half of the 18th century. It comes from a blend of Prunelar, his father, known from a long time in  the Quercy, and the Magdeleine noire des Charentes.

That is from the latest that he has the early character, that we also find in Merlot.

Before the phylloxera crisis, the Cot N was representing two thirds of the red vineyard of Bordeaux.

It is today the emblematic grape from Cahors, and is well represented in the southwest vineyards.

The Cot N is more known under the name of Malbec, , but also Préchat, Grappe Rouge, Tinturin (Gironde), Queue Rouge (Lot-et-Garonne) and Bouchales (Landes). 

Big grapes and big fruits.

The Petit Verdot

Also coming from the Pyrenees (Béarn), it does not have any genetical links with the Cabernet Franc, despite the fact that it is from the family of Carmenets. It is part of a small group of vines that includes the Gros Verdot, Lambrusquet and Ardonnet.

It has been cultivated at the 19th century in the wetlands around Bordeaux, and in the plains and wetlands of Médoc. Verdau in Gironde, Héran in the Landes, Lambrusquet in the Atlantic Pyrénées or Carmellin in Dordogne, the Petit Verdot N brings a touch of complexity in the blends.

Long time used as a blending variety, it is know used as a single grape in Spain, California, Chile or Australia.

As the Cabernet Franc, it comes from a Lambrusque, and we cannot identify a father or a mother.

Small size grapes and fruits.