Cotes-Des-Francs is the smallest appellation in Bordeaux, made up of three small villages: Saint Cibard, Tayac and Francs. The appellation’s name comes from the village of Francs, which itself was named after King Clovis of the Franks defeated the Visigoths to control Bordeaux and elsewhere in 507.
The appellation is relatively remote, with its farms and vines growing on hilly terrain around ten kilometres from Saint Emilion. Historically, most of the grapes grown in Cotes-Des-Francs went to Saint Emilion, and in terms of production both appellations were once near equals. These days, despite Cotes-Des-Francs increasing in popularity, it is a far smaller appellation, with around 490 hectares of vines in total. Vineyards here are on average six hectares in size, and often run on a family basis.
Geologically, Cotes-Des-Francs is part of what was known as the “Plateau of Wonders”, a rocky region also containing Saint Emilion and Pomerol, which is famous for its exceptional wines. The soil here is largely made up of limestone and clay, with an average elevation of 110 metres above sea level. This is one of the highest vineyards in Bordeaux, and enjoys a slightly cooler than average climate, limited rain, good airflow and plenty of sun.
Cotes-Des-Francs is best known for its Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, which are mainly used for red wines.