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, 93 points: (92-93 points) A little closed now, but shows very pretty fresh-fruit character of blackberries and black cherries that follow through to a medium to full body, polished and fine tannins and a bright finish. Purity of fruit.
Vinous, 88 points: The 2012 Acte 4 has quite a strict bouquet at first that needs more encouragement than other vintages from the glass. It is well defined with blackberry, boysenberry, touches of graphite and pressed violet aromas. The...
Vinous, 91 points: The 2010 Acte 2 is a step up from the debut on the nose, demonstrating more cohesion and harmony, raspberry and light blueberry scents and the oak better integrated than the Acte 1. There is a subtle mintiness that...
jamessuckling.com, 97 points: A unique dry white Bordeaux with a cool, fragrant and vibrant personality. Lots of candied citrus and pineapple with hints of almonds and finely chopped fresh herbs. Although quite voluptuous and creamy on the palate...
Wine Spectator, 95 points: Wow. Really youthful on the nose, with currant, blackberry and hints of vanilla bean. Full-bodied, with chewy tannins and lots of mint and fruit. Goes on for a long time. Surprisingly youthful. Give it a couple of years...
Showing 5 of 5 wines
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