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, 92 points: A dry, taut and savory style with lemon-pastry aromas and flavors, tangy acidity and a cashew-nut finish. Drink or hold.
jamessuckling.com, 93 points: This is one of the best dry white values in Bordeaux. There’s so much old-vine character from the blend of semillon and sauvignon blanc. It’s full-bodied yet agile and minerally with lemon-rind and stone character...
jamessuckling.com, 95 points: Some spicy wood on offer with attractive, ripe tropical fruits delivered in a smoothly textured palate that has impressive length and focus. Good concentration. One of the best whites from here in a while. 55% sauvignon...
Wine Enthusiast, 95 points: Rich wonderfully concentrated wine with ripe apricots green plums touches of toast riding over a structure that is just beginning a long aging process. Give this wine 10 years. This is the last vintage under this name...
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.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 92 points: Good acids along with hints of earth, buttered citrus and exotic melons are found in this cuvee. - Robert Parker
jamessuckling.com, 97 points: (JS96-97 points) A dense and powerful white with wonderful depth and phenolic tension. Shows very pretty sliced-apple, lemon and pear character. Excellent finish. 90% sauvignon blanc with the rest semillon and sauvignon...
TheWineCellarInsider.com, 97 points: Floral notes begin the experience, leading to the discovery of crushed stone and a generous offering of citrus. On the palate, this wine is fertile, fat and full of life and the finish is virtually unending with a mélange...
jamessuckling.com, 92 points: Lots of gunpowder, dried apple and pear aromas and flavors. Full body, dried apple and peach. Searing acidity. Yet bright and delicious. A white with great contrast and panache. Drink or hold.
Wine Enthusiast, 92 points: Bright, fresh and crisp wine, with some ripe fruit tinged with herbal, grassy notes. White fruits shot with acidity dance in the glass. Age for 3–4 years.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 96 points: Rated - No tasting note given.
Wine Enthusiast, 95 points: This wine has a wonderful citrus character, fresh lemons and limes going with the mineral texture. It is crisp while also structured, bright with acidity and zesty with lemon and orange. The aftertaste is herbal, crisp...
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 92 points: (WA90-92 points) The La Sémillante de Sigalas 2014, the dry white pure Sémillon blend from Château Sigalas-Rabaud, has an attractive beeswax and pear-skin bouquet that is well defined and focused. The palate is fresh and...
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