With more than 7,000 chateaux, France’s Bordeaux region is the most important wine producing region in the world. As well as being the basis for Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot-based wines everywhere, Bordeaux wines are acknowledged to be among the world’s best reds—according to experts and amateurs alike.
The wine region of Bordeaux is comprised of many smaller areas and encompasses both banks of the Gironde estuary in southwest France, as well as the land bordering the Garonne and Dordogne Rivers, which split off from the Gironde in the southern Medoc area. Generally, Bordeaux's best red wines are from seven major (and well-known) appellations: Pauillac, Saint-Estephe, Saint-Julien, and Margaux in the greater Medoc region, Graves to the south of the city of Bordeaux—in the region’s center, and Saint-Emilion and Pomerol toward the east. The large Graves region, as well as being the birthplace of claret, is home to many of the best dry whites. Premium sweet wines are made in Sauternes and Barsac, which are also within the Graves appellation but toward the south.
In understanding the multitude of Bordeaux wines, experts tend to talk about the right and left banks of the Gironde River. Generally, red wines from the river’s left bank, especially from Bordeaux’s Medoc region, are based on Cabernet Sauvignon, mixed with varying amounts of Merlot and Cabernet Franc and, occasionally, a spot of Petit Verdot and Malbec. These reds are known to be firm and dry, with a substantial tannic spine, and are frequently austere in their youth. They are also among the world’s longest-lived. The Graves’ gravel and sand soil content contribute to more texture early and roasted accents of hot stones, smoke and tobacco.
The softer Merlot grape is the foundation for right bank wines, mostly to the town of Libourne’s eastern side. These wines are fleshier in general than wines from the left bank and are more pliant. They are also accessible at an earlier age—though the best of them can improve in bottle for decades.
TheWineCellarInsider.com, 94 points: A splash of freshness in the glass, the wine pops with loads of just-squeezed grapefruit, lemon peel, vanilla, line, passion fruit, tangerine and honeysuckle. Vibrant and juicy on the palate, all this needs is fresh...
jamessuckling.com, 97 points: (96-97) This is going to be a wonderful Cos white with green mangoes, sliced apples and crushed-stone character. Green kiwis, too. Full-bodied and very rich with tension and brightness. Fantastic length. 80% sauvignon...
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 93 points: (WA 91-93 points) The Ferran 2017 Blanc is a little closed on the nose, with delicate yuzu, lemon zest and green mango notes plus grapefruit and crushed rocks hints. The medium-bodied palate has a lovely saline character...
Wine Enthusiast, 96 points: (WE 94-96 points) Rich and warm, this generous wine balances a strongly mineral texture and acidity with ripe quince, apple and pear flavors. It is a wine for aging, likely to be ready to drink from 2023.
TheWineCellarInsider.com, 90 points: Flowers, pomelo, lemongrass and citrus combine perfectly with ample acidity to create a refreshing, lemony wine made from 40% percent Semillon, 30% Sauvignon Blanc, 25% Sauvignon Gris and 5% Muscadelle. Due to the frost...
jamessuckling.com, 98 points: (97-98) This is so serious with incredible density and a chewy texture. Focused and tight. Layered and fascinating. Lots of minerals and lemon rind. Great young white. Can’t wait to see it after its elevage.
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