Bordeaux: Climate

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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The mild climate of Bordeaux is tailor-made to produce mild wines, wines that are marked more by subtlety than power. (It is the vine varieties, described below, which endow the wines with longevity.) Unlike the much more continental climate of inland France, or the more arid Mediterranean influence in the south of the country, the vineyards of Bordeaux are moderated and heavily influenced by their proximity to the Atlantic, here warmed by the Gulf Stream, and this gentle oceanic regulation of the climate extends well inland, thanks to the wide Gironde Estuary. Most years the maritime climate protects the vines from winter freeze (although February 1956 was so cold that many vines were killed) and spring frost (although April 1991 was so cold that much of that year’s growth was frozen to extinction and the crop much reduced).