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, 93 points: A refined and pretty wine for the vintage with a salty, chalky and mineral character on the nose and palate. Medium body, firm tannins and a fresh finish. This needs two or three years to soften. Better in 2020.
Wine Enthusiast, 92 points: Light and fruity, this
wine has attractive acidity and layers of red berry
fruits. The silky tannins are present, although light
and dominated by the fruitiness of the wine. It’s
fresh, packed with acidity and likely...
Antonio Galloni's Vinous, 92 points: (AG89-92 points) The 2013 Fleur Cardinale is a huge wine. Blood orange, pomegranate, white pepper and bright red cherries all explode from the glass. Unapologetically rich and intense, the 2013 is beautifully layered and...
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 94 points: This estate is owned by the brilliant Michel Gracia, so it’s a shame so little of this wine was produced, but the vineyard itself is microscopic. Approximately three acres are planted on sandy and clay-like soils with a...
Wine Enthusiast, 95 points: (WE93-95 points) A rich and structured wine, this combines both the ripeness of mature Merlot and a solid, dry texture. It's full, with a good future.
Wine Enthusiast, 94 points: Structured
and dense, this wine revels in its tension
and tight texture. While there are plenty of
black fruits, the dry core of tannins and the rich,
perfumed character show this wine’s best quality.
It is well...
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 90 points: The 2013 Beauséjour (Duffau Lagarrosse) offers impressive intensity given the growing season with crisp and pure dark cherries, raspberry coulis and subtle earthy bordering upon loamy scents. The oak here is nicely...
Wine Enthusiast, 98 points: (WE96-98 points) The beautifully aromatic, honeyed scent leads into flavors of bitter orange and honey, along with extreme freshness. Notes of white peach and Rocha pear give richness to a wine that is not huge, but...
Wine Spectator, 97 points: There's loads here, with apricot, nectarine and clementine flavors stitched with a racy orange zest note to give energy, along with tropical papaya and mango flavors that add a sublimely creamy edge. The finish sails on...
Wine Enthusiast, 93 points: The renaissance
of Clos Fourtet continues, even in this
difficult vintage. This wine has great fruit, layering
black currant with berries. It’s a precise wine,
pointing up the structured tannins while leaving
Wine Enthusiast, 92 points: Continuing
the impressive improvements at this
château even in a tough year, this wine is ripe, full of
structured tannins and blackberry fruits. It is fresh,
a sign of the vintage, but it has concentration as
Wine Enthusiast, 94 points: This
wine is a success for the vintage with its
ripe Cabernet flavors and dark, dense tannins. It is
fruity certainly, with a juicy, perfumed background.
However, the structure and texture show best—firm
Showing 15 of 59 wines
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