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, 95 points: This is very structured and muscular with a lots of toasty new wood showing now but if you dig deep you see a rich and beautiful fruit and velvety tannin structure. Is this the new 1970? Very sexy.
Wine Enthusiast, 94 points: This full, fruity wine is packed with acidity as well as ripeness. It has a fresh black-currant character, and the structure underneath is strong. It will develop relatively quickly, but then could hold at its peak for...
Wine Spectator, 95 points: Velvety and inviting with lovely dark plum and blackberry fruit followed by a long caressing finish. This has some grip too but it's nicely integrated. Should have some staying power. Tasted non-blind. -J.M.
Neal Martin's Wine Journal, 96 points: Tasted blind at the Southwold Bordeaux 2010 tasting. There is a strong marine influence on the Grand Puy Lacoste 2010: seaweed and brine infused into the black fruit. It is very well defined and focused, building in...
Wine Spectator, 92 points: This mouthfilling red displays a core of plum black cherry and red currant fruit with well-integrated toast. There's a light tarry edge on the finish. Tasted non-blind. -J.M.
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...
Wine Spectator, 94 points: Bright damson plum cherry and black currant fruit races along in this invigorating red with mouthwatering acidity and a superfresh iron-filled finish that has a nice rapier feel. Sleek and long. -J.M.
Wine Enthusiast, 95 points: 93-95 Modern in style, with its new wood flavors dominant, this is a tight wine at this stage, packed with tannins, the fruit a ripe promise for the future. Big and dark, juicy flavors show through finally.
Showing 8 of 8 wines
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We had the La Risana on our last vacation and loved it. JJ Buckley not only had the wine available when no one else did but at a great price as well. Very happy with the purchase.
-Andrew G., July 2019
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