You may have seen the term ‘Bordeaux Supérieur’ on a wine label
What would you think if you saw the term ‘Bordeaux Supérieur’ on a wine’s label?
Does it give you the impression that it is superior to other Bordeaux wines?
Well if you see ‘Bordeaux Supérieur’ on a label, it does mean that the wine is a little more superior compared to a ‘normal’ Bordeaux wine. A little superior in the sense that the ‘Bordeaux Supérieur’ wines are made under stricter appellation laws, setting it higher winemaking standards. All this is done in hope of a richer, and more complex wine with greater aging ability.
The grapes used in ‘Bordeaux Supérieur’ red wines are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. For white wines, the grapes are similar to those used in normal Bordeaux AOC wines. These grapes are mostly Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.
Here’s an overview of a few ‘Bordeaux Supérieur’ regulations compared to normal Bordeaux wines:
1- Higher vine density
There needs to be more vines planted per unit area. This creates more competition for each vine which in turn forces the each vine’s roots to dig deeper for nutrients, resulting in stronger, healthier vines. This helps create a richer wine.
2- A lower maximum yield per hectare is 10% lower than normal
Yield is the quantity of grapes harvested from each vine. The winemaker has to sacrifice and crop good grapes so that the total amount grapes growing is lower. This creates a better wine as well because now there’s less sharing of nutrients between the grapes on each vine.
3- Riper grapes at harvest for higher alcohol level
The minimum alcohol level on a ‘Bordeaux Supérieur’ wine is 0.5% higher compared to a normal Bordeaux AOC wine. This will push winemakers to collect riper grapes which have more sugar to convert into alcohol.
4- Aged in a barrel
The wines are required by regulations to be aged for at least 12 months before they can be sold to buyers.
So next time, try comparing a Bordeaux Supérieur wine with a non-Supérieur one and see if you can spot the difference. Wine novice or interested in discovering wines you do not have access to? Every month receive two bottles of exclusive French wines at home with our sommelier's tasting guide. Find out more