Jean Marc Barthez, his wife Eliane and their children work their property and their vineyards with the experience of generations of winemakers and the greatest attention to detail. They have to. This is Bordeaux, the most famous wine region in the world.
There is a certain reverence here for a history that is like no other in the world. That's because for the last four centuries Bordeaux has held a dominant position in the world of wine. Yet, Bordeaux is considered the largest fine wine producing area in the world, with nearly 5,000 producers - more than the entire state of California.
Marchand is part of a co-op, which Jean Marc heads as president. It was founded in 1935 and, like most co-ops, came into being so a group of small vineyard owners could pool their resources to build a collective winery - so they could make wine under better conditions than in their barns. Since then, they have endured world wars,
droughts and the like - and have not only survived but prospered.
Unlike most of Bordeaux producers, Marchand labels its wine with the name of the grape. In this case it is made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Cabernet in Bordeaux is quite different than it is in California. The gapes are picked a little earlier so they are not as ripe and forceful. As a result, the wine is more approachable, with cassis running through its core and a lovely finish.
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