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.
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Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 94 points: An opaque purple color is followed by notes of graphite mulberries blueberries and flowers. The 2008 is broad savory and medium to full-bodied with sweet tannins decent acidity a textured complex mouthfeel and no hard...
Stephen Tanzer's IWC, 93 points: (IWC90-93 points) Pale gold. Aromas of wintermelon green fig lemon and white flowers. Then peppery on the palate with excellent clarity and cut and lovely balancing acidity to the lemon tropical fruit and mineral flavors...
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 92 points: (RP90-92 points) Rated, no tasting note given. - Robert Parker
Wine Spectator, 91 points: This has a nice broad feel to its coconut fig and creamed pear notes. The long finish sports mouthcoating tropical papaya and guava flavors with a toasted hazelnut hint waiting to break out. Quite rich but still forward...
jamessuckling.com, 91 points: A dense and creamy white showing lots of apple pie cream and honey. Full body with masses of new wood but I like the character. Dried pineapple and apple too. Vanilla aftertaste. Drink now or hold.
Wine Enthusiast, 94 points: Surprisingly dry this has richness rather than sweetness and intense powerful botrytis. The honey is intensely perfumed along with baked apples and spice. Certainly a long-aging wine.
Wine Spectator, 90 points: Powerful and ripe for the vintage. Lovely aromas of plums, berries and chocolate. Tannins are fine, finish is long and silky. Drink now or hold. – JS
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 91 points: The proprietors are extremely happy with what they were able to produce in 2000. Even though this vintage has a poor reputation producers who only included the early-picked grapes in their final blends have often turned...
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