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.
Wine Enthusiast, 94 points: Full of tropical fruit flavors, this is rounded, ripe and very accessible. At the same time, its structure shows through in the tang of green apple skin, judicious wood aging and taut aftertaste.
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.
jamessuckling.com, 93 points: The acidity in this really gives verve and intensity to the wine. Lemon and salt character already. Full yet vivid. Exciting. Great value. Drink or hold.
Wine Enthusiast, 97 points: Wonderfully aromatic, this sure-to-be legendary wine offers richness, ripeness, and pure yellow fruits, peaches and apricots, all alongside a structured strain of chalky minerality. It is a wine for long aging, the wood...
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...
jamessuckling.com, 93 points: (JS92-93 points) Excellent dry white with sliced apple and lemon character. Full body, stone and bright acidity. Look forward to seeing this develop in barrel.
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...
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...
jamessuckling.com, 94 points: A dense and flavorful white offering plenty of lemon curd, cooked apples and stones. Full and tropical with a long finish. Gorgeous now.
Wine Enthusiast, 95 points: (WE93-95 points) There is a beautiful straight line of crispness in this wine. It cuts right through the wood and ripe yellow fruits to leave a wine with great clarity.
jamessuckling.com, 98 points: (JS97-98 points) Incredible depth of fruit and density. Full and powerful with so much fruit and richness yet remains fresh and clean. Purity. Massive yet vibrant and electric. Minerality length. Love the to taste this.
jamessuckling.com, 95 points: (JS94-95 points) A brilliant and intense white with oyster shell, lemon, pear and sea salt character. Full body, flavorful finish.
jamessuckling.com, 96 points: (JS95-96 points) A fresh white with sliced green apple, lemon rind and cream. Full body, bright acidity and a long and flavorful finish. Layered and very dense. Wonderful backbone.
Showing 15 of 81 wines
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