Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Blaye, fortified town across the Gironde estuary from Margaux in the bordeaux region which has been exporting wine much longer than the famous médoc. It gives its name to a region of scattered vineyards with soils that vary considerably (much more than in neighbouring Côtes de bourg) but are mainly clay and limestone. At the beginning of the 20th century it produced mainly white wine for distillation into cognac to the immediate north, and even today some of its white wine is distilled. Early 21st century tinkering with nomenclature resulted in most of the wines being sold as Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux, part of the Côtes de Bordeaux group. Mainly robust, early-maturing, red bordeaux blends were produced from 5,218 ha/12,888 acres of vines in 2013 planted predominantly with Merlot. A much smaller number of growers produce reds according to the stricter rules of Blaye tout court. More than 300 ha/740 acres of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon vines are responsible for some particularly successful, lively dry white Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux while Côtes de Blaye, a dry white based on Colombard and Ugni Blanc, is a minority product nowadays.