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.
jamessuckling.com, 98 points: (JS 97-98 points) Lots of white peach and red apple with crushed-stone and pine-needle undertones. Full-bodied, yet compact and linear with beautiful toffee, light caramel, praline and nougat character to the fruit...
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Wine Enthusiast, 98 points: (WE 96–98 points) This is a beautiful white wine in its balance and in its elegantly textured fruit and acidity. With richness balanced by the wine's crisp green fruits, there is complexity and depth here that gives the...
jamessuckling.com, 99 points: (98-99 points) A super white with dense mango, lemon and lime, as well as some clove and nutmeg. Full-bodied, really complete and long. Sensational. So much potential here. 66% sauvignon blanc and 34% semillon.
jamessuckling.com, 96 points: (95-96 points) This is full-bodied with layers of fruit. Ripe and flavorful. Lots going on with a fleshy feel. No malolactic this year. Sweet peach, honeysuckle and citrus. Contrastive. 52% sauvignon blanc, 14% sauvignon...
Wine Enthusiast, 98 points: (WE 96–98 points) This classic white wine reveals impressive potential as it unfolds. Along with its enveloping white fruits and crisp citrus it also has a wrought texture that will push it forward for the long term. -...
jamessuckling.com, 95 points: (94-95 points) Very structured second wine with density and freshness. It’s full-bodied and creamy with a flavorful, lightly chewy palate. About 75% semillon, the rest sauvignon.
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-Evonne B., January 2021