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.
Vinous, 96 points: The 2014 Pavie-Macquin is superb. Deep, powerful and creamy, the 2014 possesses tremendous richness from start to finish. Today, the 2014 appears to be going through a period of transition, as the aromatics are not...
TheWineCellarInsider.com, 92 points: Medium/full bodied, focused, refined and needing just a few more years , the cassis is sweet, the texture is polished and the fruit is stained with tobacco leaf. This will be ready to drink in just a few short...
jamessuckling.com, 96 points: The nose is really glorious with strawberry, wet-earth, blackberry and dark-mushroom character. Full body, a solid core of fruit and beautiful tannins. It’s polished and velvety. Better in 2022 but gorgeous.
Vinous, 92 points: The 2014 Les Cruzelles has a simple bouquet, tertiary in style, woodland scents intermixed and perhaps dominating the fruit underneath. The palate is medium-bodied with dry tannin, chewy in the mouth at first although it...
Vinous, 97 points: An utterly spellbinding wine, the 2014 Beauséjour Héritiers Duffau-Lagarrosse is also one of the unqualified successes of the vintage. Beams of tannin give the 2014 its ample, broad feel. Inky red cherry, blueberry...
jamessuckling.com, 96 points: This is a traditional red with strawberry leaves, lemon rind and wet earth. Very aromatic. Medium to full body, firm and silky tannins and a fruity, chocolate and walnut character. Always refined yet powerful. Better in 2022.
jamessuckling.com, 94 points: A tight and alluring red with spice, chocolate and berry character. Full-bodied yet tight and composed. Beautiful length and balance. Give it time to show you what it has. Try in 2020.
jamessuckling.com, 96 points: Extremely perfumed with rose aromas that turn to strawberries and citrus. Some stones, too. Full-bodied, yet reserved and ultra-refined. It goes on for minutes. Power with finesse. Try in 2022 but already a joy to taste.
jamessuckling.com, 94 points: A unique red here with so much floral, bark and dark fruit aromas that follow through to a full body, chewy tannins and a flavorful finish. Lively acidity. Needs two or three years to resolve the . But should come around...
Wine Spectator, 90 points: Lovely tangerine, nectarine and peach notes are carried by a fresh honeysuckle accent. There's good zip, though this leans more toward the flattering side of the spectrum. Drink now through 2019. 1,176 cases made. — JM
Vinous, 94 points: The 2014 La Marzelle is just as striking from bottle as it was from barrel. The purity and freshness of the red-toned fruit is captivating. Today, the new oak is a bit prominent, while the tannins are present. Both should...
Vinous, 92 points: The 2014 Le Thil has turned out nicely. Sweet red cherry, flowers, mint and pipe tobacco give the wine its distinctive aromatic signatures, while silky tannins add to an overall impression of grace and creaminess.
Vinous, 94 points: Game, smoke, tobacco, licorice and incense run through the 2014 Feytit Clinet, which exudes depth and intensity. Chocolate, gravel and a host of dark-toned fruits nearly bury the tannins. The 2014 saw five days of cold...
jamessuckling.com, 92 points: Aromas reminiscent of dark chocolate as well as dark fruits and dried herbs. Chalky texture framed by polished tannins, subtle fruit and a tannin-driven finish. Needs at least three years to soften. Drink now.
jamessuckling.com, 94 points: The blueberry, blackberry and stone aromas are impressive in this second wine. Full-bodied, dense and very polished with an ultra-fine tannin structure. Beautiful now as a young wine but will be superb in 2021.
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