Bordeaux Wines

Posted by on Nov 8, 2011 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Bordeaux Wines

What is a Bordeaux?

Bordeaux is probably most recognized wine region in the world. It is the archetypal ‘complex’ wine, usually defined by, and known for using a blend of a couple different grapes from the region of the same name. There are many grape varieties grown in Bordeaux, but the following are the noble (a classical term used to describe the grapes traditionally associated with the highest quality wines) grapes of this area:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon – With finest wines being produced in Medoc
  • Cabernet Franc – Mostly grown in Saint Emillion, but also available in Medoc and Graves.
  • Merlot – Grows well in Saint Emillion and Pomerol.
  • Malbec – Is grown mostly in Bourg and Blaye.
  • Petit Verdot –  Widely planted in many regions of Bordeaux.
  • Semillon – White wine that is widely planted throughout the region.
  • Sauvignon Blanc – Is planted in many regions of Bordeaux.
  • Muscadelle – Used for sweet wines found in many regions of Bordeaux.

So with that said, how do you differentiate between the different types of French Bordeaux? The regions will tell the tale. For example, if you pick a Bordeaux off the shelf and it says,

  • Medoc – Most likely will have more Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend, as Cabernet Sauvignon is best produced in the Medoc region.
  • Saint Emillion – This blend will be mostly Merlot.
  • Left/Right Bank – To the left of the Gironde River is where Cabernet usually grows, and on the right bank is where you’ll mostly find Merlot.


For the different regions, different classifications exist; the higher the classification, the higher the demand and price. For example, the Medoc and Sauternes regions have different growths; first growths (Premier Crus), are very expensive and are made for ageing and cellaring—some examples would be,

  • Chateau Haut-Brion
  • Chateau Latour
  • Chateau Mouton – Rothschild

The Saint-Emillion region, for example, would have three classifications:

  • Grand Cru
  • Grand Cru Classe
  • Premier Grand Cru Classe  (highest classification)

The Graves and Passac-Leognan have no ranking other than ‘Cru Classe.’

Whites Blends, and Others

Bordeaux is not only known for having some of the best red wines in the world, it is also home to some utterly sublime whites as well. These white blends are usually Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. In addition to the white blends, some desert whites, usually made from the Muscadelle grape, are produced in the area as well.

That's About It!

Armed with the knowledge to make you feel and sound like you just got off the plane from France, the next time  you go to the winery or wine store, check out the full selection of Bordeaux available, and treat your palate to that ‘je ne sais quoi’ only found in that French Bordeaux.

About Dave Keighron

Dave Keighron has written 63 posts in this blog.

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