One Côtes de Bordeaux?
A few “ô’s” still have to be circumflexed, and a couple of “è’s” need to be graved, but it looks like, with the 2007 vintage, lovers of the charming and less-expensive appellations of Premières Côtes de Blaye, Côtes de Francs, Côtes de Castillon and Premières Côtes de Bordeaux will be able to buy them all under the one label: Côtes de Bordeaux.
This has been the quest for Christophe Chateau and his Association de 5 Côtes de Bordeaux for over 20 years—to simplify for consumers all Bordeaux appellations bearing the word “côtes” into one official Côtes de Bordeaux while allowing the individual communes or communales to still include their names on the label in auxiliary type. On July 3, 5 Côtes even changed their name to the Union des Côtes de Bordeaux.
The only sour fruit in this Bordeaux blend is the Côtes de Bourg, which decided not to take the last train for the Côtes, yet left the door cracked with a “maybe later.” At the same time, two other appellations—Graves de Vayres and Sainte-Foy Bordeaux—are working with the Union to try to get under the umbrella.
Under the new labeling, now planned to begin in April 2008, Côtes de Bordeaux will be the INAO appellation. The individual communales can be optionally listed as simply Blaye, Francs, Castillon, and Cadillac, where the Premières Côtes de Bordeaux is located. Chateau hopes that an October 9 meeting with the INAO (Institut Nacional des Appellations d’Origine) will lock things up.
At VinExpo this summer, the Côtes group launched a new communications campaign created by Agence DBH under the banner, “Les Côtes, C’est en Haut,” which Chateau translates into English as, “The Côtes, Just Right, at the Top.”
“We wanted to communicate on [the] magic places there are to discover, small paradises where great wines are made,” Chateau explains. “This new campaign aims between the magic world of Harry Potter and that of the Little Prince. To get to the Côtes, you have to mount a stairway, climb beyond the clouds, in order to reach this vineyard Eden.”
The new Côtes de Bordeaux will consist of about 30,000 acres of most Merlot vineyards, all located on the Right Bank.