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, 93 points: Michel Gracia’s other tiny estate in St.-Emilion has produced a wonderfully distinctive wine that exhibits plenty of floral notes intermixed with boysenberry, mulberry and blueberry fruit. There also is an underlying...
TheWineCellarInsider.com, 98 points: (96-98 points) Murielle Andraud has been in charge of the wine making at the property since 2007. Each vintage has shown marked improvements over the previous year. 2010 is no exception. She is clearly on a roll! With a...
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 99 points: The 2010, a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc cropped at 20 hectoliters per hectare, is showing incredibly well, combining elegance, extraordinary creme de cassis and kirsch-like fruit, and notes of licorice...
jamessuckling.com, 95 points: Aromas of mint and currants with hints of fresh herbs. Then turns to plum jam. Full body, with well-integrated tannins and pretty fruit. Long and caressing. This is really outstanding. Better in 2017.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 100 points: Sadly, there's not a whole lot of production to this microscopic estate in Pomerol, but the name says it all. The awesome aromatics include not only raspberries, black cherries, and blackberry, but also the floral perfume...
jamessuckling.com, 92 points: A ripe and juicy wine with dried strawberry and hints of earth. Full body, with velvety tannins. Delicious finish. Sweet fruit at the end. Drink or hold.
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