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South West France, or Sud Ouest, is a large expanse that covers several districts within the country, with the exception of Bordeaux, Languedoc, and Rousillon. The Romans were the first to produce wine here, long before Bordeaux vineyards were ever established. In the early Middle Ages, with a now established Bordeaux region, this area was referred to as “High Country.” Both areas would send their goods via tributaries of the main rivers, the Garonne and Dordogne, to other areas off the Atlantic Coast. High Country grapes ripened sooner than in Bordeaux, so the wines could be bottled and sold more quickly, which threatened Bordeaux producers who wanted their piece of the action. In the 13th and 14th century, the Bordelais established the “police des vins” which stipulated that no High Country wine could be sold until most of the Bordeaux wine left port. Barrels of South West wine would sit in storage, fetching much lower prices in the already saturated marketplace once they could Read more »
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