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.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 91 points: The 2016 Clémentin de Pape Clement Blanc reveals suggestions of fresh hay, dried persimmons, pineapple and wild thyme plus a waft of oyster shell. Medium-bodied, crisp and clean, with compelling saline notions, it...
Wine Spectator, 90 points: Lovely tangerine, nectarine and peach notes are carried by a fresh honeysuckle accent. There's good zip, though this leans more toward the flattering side of the spectrum. Drink now through 2019. 1,176 cases made. — JM
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 96 points: A sensational blend of 60% Sauvignon Blanc and 40% Semillon with nearly 14% natural alcohol this superb honeyed effort exhibits orange marmalade lemon custard and exotic tropical fruit notes.
TheWineCellarInsider.com, 95 points: Just a knock wine that has everything an aged white Bordeaux needs. It is rich, full bodied, long, complex and loaded with perfectly ripe, yellow citrus, rocks, stones and just a hint of honey. It offers the right balance...
Vinous, 94 points: (91-94) Bright gold-tinged straw-yellow. Spicy, perfumed aromas of violet and ginger, with hints of lime, peach and butter. Densely packed, nicely ripe flavors of tangerine, white peach and butter are lifted by sound...
Vinous, 92 points: The 2015 Grand Village Blanc is terrific. Citrus peel, white flowers, sage and tomato leaf notes abound. The 2015 is the first vintage in which the blend favors Sémillon over Sauvignon, but it is the Sauvignon 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, 95 points: Luscious yellow fruits, vanilla, flowers and white peach create an intoxicating bouquet. The is the perfect amount of acidity to keep all the sweet, ripe, fruits in check, leaving you a slightly honeyed, just squeezed...
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...
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