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: What a perfumed, elegant, structured wine, with all the elements of fruit, wood, tannins just in the right place. It shows great tannins, powerful black and red berry fruits, denseness, and a classic, fresh aftertaste.
Wine Spectator, 92 points: Beautiful aromas of chocolate blackberry and light cappuccino follow through to a medium- to full-bodied palate with fine tannins and a long finish. Delicious already but will be much better in a few years. Yummy wine...
Wine Spectator, 100 points: Like lemon curd on the nose turning to honey and caramel. Full-bodied and very sweet with fantastic concentration of ripe and botrytized fruit yet balanced and refined. Electric acidity. Lasts for minutes on the palate...
Wine Spectator, 93 points: Smells like a gorgeous lemon tart with hints of honey. Full-bodied, very sweet and concentrated with loads of fruit. Vanilla, spice and lemons on the aftertaste. Lovely stuff here. Better than from barrel. Best after...
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 98 points: ...The "wine of the vintage" this inky/purple-colored 2001 boasts a provocative floral perfume of crushed stones raspberries blackberries creme de cassis licorice and smoke. What makes it so sensational are the layers of...
Wine Spectator, 90 points: Smells like freshly cut flowers with earth and berry. Full-bodied with silky tannins and a long caressing aftertaste. Compacted and refined. This estate continues to improve. Best after 2008. –JS
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 95 points: The Doisy Daene 2001 is still quite backward on the nose compared to its peers and as a consequence, demands more coaxing from the glass: beeswax, honeycomb and a touch of lanolin. The palate is well balanced with a...
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Competitive Prices. Especially good with Bordeaux futures. Email offers always tempting.
-Aaron C., March 2017