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.
Vinous, 91 points: Good bright red-ruby. Sexy, pure aromas of dark cherry, rose and violet. Juicy, delicate and penetrating, with pinot-like weight and sappiness. Displays a captivating sweetness without any loss of energy. Finishes long...
Wine Enthusiast, 94 points: A dense wine, powerful while also elegant. It shows all the best character of a grand Margaux, with fine tannins as well as dense structure. It will age well.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 98 points: A candidate for the -wine of the vintage- the 2008 should have been purchased before it began to soar in value because of the significance of the number 8 in the Chinese culture (denoting good luck). Representing 40% of...
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 97 points: It is hard to call Petrus a "sleeper of the vintage" but the 2008 will merit more attention than most consumers would think. Low yields of 30 hectoliters per hectare resulted in only 25000 bottles of this beauty. A wine...
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 94 points: Another resounding success for the vintage the opaque purple-colored 2008 Clinet (14.4% alcohol) is composed of 85% Merlot 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Yields of 38 hectoliters per hectare while higher...
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