Over the last few decades, Bordeaux wine makers have faced significant competition from New World wines. In fact, Australian, Californian and South African wines have forced some Bordeaux wine makers to even throw away unsold stock.
The Union was established in 1973 to combat this trend by better marketing the best of the Bordeaux wines. As Patrick Maroteaux, President of the Union des Grands Cru de Bordeaux explained during the launch dinner of En Primeur at Domaine de Chevalier, it has 132 member estates from the leading Bordeaux appellations: Medoc, Graves and Pessac-Leognan, Sauternes and Barsac, Saint-Emilion, and Pomerol.
Many but not all of these estates are classified growths though they all emphasize quality and the best of Bordeaux winemaking. The Union organizes the annual En Primeur tastings, which bring 5,000 merchants and over 100 leading journalists from around the world to Bordeaux to taste the latest vintage. Last year, the Union organized its first En Primeur tastings for wine enthusiasts in May. This has now become an annual affair. Maroteaux has been President for seven years and is a co-owner with his family of Château Branaire-Ducru, at Saint-Julien. He has visited India several times. On his last trip in November, he conducted a wine tasting in Delhi.