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Climate change causes major changes in Bordeaux and Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Bordeaux and Châteauneuf-du-Pape are two old wine regions who trade on their history. However, as in the past, the grape varieties used are changing once again.

Bordeaux has announced that seven new and foreign grapes will be allowed in their blends to help it cope with climate change. Bordeaux AOC and Bordeaux Supérieur, which make up 55% of Bordeaux production or 384 million bottles, will be allowed to include 4 new red grapes and 3 white grape varieties.

The reds include the Portuguese grape Touriga Nacional, plus the lesser known Castets and Arinarnoa. While the whites include Alvarinho, Petit Manseng and Liliorila.

Meanwhile in Châteauneuf-du-Pape red wines have struggled over the last decade to maintain balance in the increasingly hot Southern Rhone. To add acidity and lower the alcohol to the wine, an increasing number of producers are planning on adding more white wines to their red blends. Adding white wines to their reds has always been allowed, but when Domaine de la Charbonnière, saw alcohol hit 16% abv in its Cuvée Les Hautes Brusquières 2016, the need to lower alcohol and increase freshness has become essential. There has been an increase in planting of white grape varieties Bourboulenc, Picpoul, Picardin and Clairette, in order to blend into red wines.