• Why do top Bordeaux have a second wine?

    Search any great Bordeaux estate within the Classement of 1855 you'll find there a second wine. Usually the label has some link to denote the parentage. For example at Chateau Latour, Les Forts de Latour and at Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, Carruades de Lafite-Rothschild. 

    When a top chateau deems that a certain partial of harvest is slightly inferior to the rest then those grapes go into a second label in order not to affect the quality of the estate wine.

    For a keen consumer a second wine at less than half the price of the estate wine is irresistible. We at Edwin's stock as much second Bordeaux wines as we could find.

    Interestingly there is another theory circulating. To understand this we have to understand how the French Appellation system works.

    The regulatory body INAO dictates certain parameters: what grapes to grow; the maximum yield per hectare of land; how many vines allowed per hectare; et cetera. The great estates by tradition plant less vines per hectare than is allowed in order to guarantee quality as well as to harvest within the yield limit. What if in certain good years when the elements are in harmony and that the wine produced exceeds the maximum yield allowed.

    The maximum yield is declared to INAO for making the estate wine. What to do with the surplus? The solution is a second wine which would not be restricted. Even if this second wine could well be exactly the same as the estate wine.


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