Charles Sichel: Bordeaux quality greatest ever

Charles Sichel, export director at Maison Sichel believes that the development of world wines has driven the quality of Bordeaux to its greatest quality level in history.

Sichel joined DI at Prowein in Dusseldorf to discuss the latest movements in the Bordeaux category.

“A lot of the improvement has been due to New World competition, which has forced us to move on and not sit on our laurels,” said Sichel. “New World wines have contributed to Bordeaux wines improving.

“I’m totally convinced that Bordeaux’s mid-level, the €5-15 price bracket, champions the world in terms of value for money, without a shadow of a doubt.

“We still make wine to a traditional Bordeaux style, but with all of our modern knowledge and technology the quality can still improve.”

As well as competition from abroad, Sichel also believes that diversity levels has influenced the Bordeaux quality, which is evident in export demands.

According to Sichel, exports to China alone accounts for about 15% of Maison Sichel’s business and that’s where the producer sees its significant growth over the next 30 years, while UK exports makes up for around 25-30% of the business.

“At the moment there is definitely a thirst for imported wines, which funnily enough are taxed cheaper than local wines,” added Sichel.

 “Coming out of Bordeaux the quality is a lot more regular than it has been ever before. This is partly because of the competition – 30 years ago there were 30,000 producers and now there are 6,000.

“The surface area of vines hasn’t changed - it’s around 120,000ha which means there’s a concentration effect on ownership, which I think is also responsible for the increase in quality.”