Cotes de Bordeaux Castillon is the appellation title for Cotes de Bordeaux wines made specifically in the Castillon district, at the very eastern edge of Bordeaux. Until 2009, these wines were sold as Cotes de Castillon.
All Cotes de Bordeaux Castillon wines are red, made predominantly from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, with a permitted addition of Malbec, Petit Verdot and even Carmenere. Merlot is the main variety, producing relatively well-structured wines that are approachable at an early age. There is of course, variation in the exact blends of these Cotes de Bordeaux Castillon wines, depending on several factors. These include the target market and style of a wine, the existing varieties planted in the vineyards and their precise terroir. Those sites with clay soils, for example, are better suited to Merlot and will have the potential to create softer, more supple wines for early consumption. Those on gravelly soils will favor the Cabernet varieties, which are likely to create more-structured wines with higher tannin levels – wines that will require and reward a few years' cellaring.
The Cotes de Bordeaux appellation was created in 2009 to bring together several cotes of Bordeaux under a single banner – the idea being to improve the marketability of the wines in question and simplify the overall Bordelais appellation structure. Individually, these appellations were struggling to find sufficient marketing resources to combat the increasing popularity of Bordeaux-style wines from emerging wine regions, particularly in the New World.
The process began officially in 1985, when the presidents of five cotes appellations founded the Association des Cotes de Bordeaux. This later became Les Cinq Cotes de Bordeaux, as confusion had arisen between the first name and that of the entirely separate Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux title. By the end of 2003, the decision had been taken to create the Cotes de Bordeaux appellation, with the geographical denominations Blaye, Cadillac, Castillon and Francs. After another few years of negotiations and red tape, the appellation was confirmed and ratified.