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.
TheWineCellarInsider.com, 90 points: Medium bodied, firm, fresh, crisp style of wine, with an earthy, fresh plum, thyme, smoke and espresso perfume. This is probably close to fully mature.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 93 points: The 2006 Le Carre rated 93 which was not reviewed in issue #181 is brilliant. Beautiful black fruit crushed rock and new oak aromas a dense purple color a full-bodied mouthfeel and outstanding density as well as richness...
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 95 points: 95+ This tiny 5-acre vineyard with nearly 50-year old vines produces only 4000 bottles from a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. The broodingly tannic backward 2006 is remarkably concentrated pure and deep. It is...
TheWineCellarInsider.com, 96 points: Flowers, fresh churned earth, cherry pipe tobacco, cocoa and cigar box aromas are making their presence known. Still young, the wine is fresh, supple and tannic. While the wine demands time and the tannins are clearly...
Wine Enthusiast, 95 points: Sweet rich orange marmalade flavors maybe not as imposingly powerful as Guiraud can be but still with a great inner tension between sweetness and dry botrytis precede a delicious addition of lemon zest and a final burst...
Vinous, 94 points: Deep, bright ruby. Blackberry and blueberry liqueur, licorice, spices, graphite and toffee on the nose, with a pungent mineral lift. Dense, sappy and superconcentrated, with a silky, voluptuous texture to its flavors of...
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