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, 94 points: With
a higher proportion of Merlot (92%) than
usual, this is a round, ripe wine released at just
20% of normal production. The generous texture
and tannins are well integrated into the rich fruit.
It’s juicy, broad...
Wine Enthusiast, 94 points: Very well
balanced, this is already a beautiful wine
that could almost be drunk now. Smooth tannins
and oak are layered with red and black-currant
fruits that are perfumed and fresh. The structure
is all there, just...
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...
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 Enthusiast, 94 points: Cellar Selection. This wine has a lot of class and elegance, along with firm tannins that show how well it will age. It is dark and concentrated, the black fruits still developing under the solid structure. This wine will...
Wine Enthusiast, 95 points: (WE93-95 points) A rich, complete wine, this has beautiful acidity as well as the most intense botrytis character. It's a wine with long-term aging potential, ripe and already full in the mouth.
Showing 6 of 6 wines
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