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.
Wine Enthusiast, 93 points: Ripe and tropical, this full-bodied wine
conveys mango, quince and ripe white peach that
accompany a rich texture. It’s going to develop
relatively quickly, so drink from 2018. Winemaker
Stephan Carrier returned from...
jamessuckling.com, 98 points: This is a phenomenal white with super density and energy. Full body, yet incredibly agile and intense. Fabulous character of salt, mineral and shells. Hints of tannin too. Dried white peach. Pear and apple. Super subtle...
jamessuckling.com, 98 points: This is a very special Haut-Brion blanc with a very exotic aromas and flavors of apricots, peaches and mangos. Full body, dense and agile. Wonderful acidity. Loads of dried fruits on the finish. The high percentage of...
Wine Enthusiast, 96 points: This is finely structured, a tense
wine with great fruits and an intense texture. It’s
tight while bursting with fruit. The structure is
complex, dense and very mineral in character. It is a
wine that will need many...
jamessuckling.com, 97 points: Fantastic aromas of papaya, lemon and pear with hints of cream. Full body, very layered and intense. Superb flavors and intensity. Vibrant acidity and freshness. Lasts so long on the palate. One of the wines of the...
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