A Bordeaux wine is any wine produced in the Bordeaux region of southwest France. The Bordeaux wine region is extensive and somewhat complex. The region is centered on the city of Bordeaux, on the Garonne River. To the north of the city the Dordogne River joins the Garonne forming the broad estuary called the Gironde and covering the whole area considered the Gironde region. These rivers define the wine-producing geographical subdivisions of the region. The ‘right bank’ is the right bank of the Dordogne, in the northern parts of the region, around the city of Libourne. The section is known as Entre-Deux-Mers which is French for ‘between two seas’. The area between the rivers Dordogne and Garonne is both tidal and in the center of the region. This region has about 8000 unique producers with close to 120,000 planted hectares. Average with a total vineyard area of over 120,000 hectares producing up to making it the largest wine-growing area in France. Bordeaux is the largest and most popular wine region in the world.
The wine was introduced to the Bordeaux region by the Romans around the mid-1st century A.D. and wine popularity and production has continued for 1000’s of years. Bordeaux had its beginning and notoriety in the approximate 1600s. Bordeaux in its entirety can be divided into two parts or regions consisting of the ‘Left Bank’ and the ‘Right Bank’. The Left Bank, which is famous for its wines dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon while the Right Bank produces wines that have a large percentage of Merlot. The Right Bank is the home to Petrus and Cheval Blanc. Bordeaux has one other major appellation, Sauternes, which is where the world’s greatest, sweet Bordeaux wines come from. It is these two main areas that produce many of the world’s best red wines.
Wines of the Left Bank:
The wines from the Left Bank are blends with predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon. Thus, the most important grape is Cabernet Sauvignon followed by Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Carmenere. The major appellations in the Left Bank are Pessac Leognan, Margaux St. Julien, St. Estephe, and Pauillac.
The main character of the Left Bank wines is due to the appropriate soil condition consisting of limestone and clay. The best wines combine elegance with tannic structure, giving the wine’s flavors of currants, spice, earth, and tobacco when young.
As the wines age, they become more refined, and they take on additional nuances of cedar, herbs, truffle, leather, and smoke. Bordeaux wines from the Left Bank are famous for their ability to age and develop for years or even decades. And the best chateaux, in the top vintages are capable of making wines that can age for a century or longer.
Wines of Right Bank Bordeaux:
The Right Bank of Bordeaux is where you find the absolute best wines in the world produced from Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Beside Merlot and Cabernet Franc there are also smaller plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Carmenere. The 2 most famous appellations in the Right Bank are St. Emilion and Pomerol.
As in Left Bank, it is the clay that gives the wines from this area its plush, opulent, character as well as the ability to be aged as well as the best wines of the Left Bank
Right Bank wines at their best offer lush, sensuous textures, soft tannins and noses of juicy, black cherries, licorice, black and red plums, chocolate, flowers and truffle when young. As the wines age, you find more tobacco, truffle, dark chocolate, and earthy characteristics.
It is basically the soil condition that gives the variations between the Left Bank and Right Bank Bordeaux wines. The terroir (soil conditions, climate and environmental factors) provide the factors that produce the variations and similarities for all the wines in the Bordeaux region.
Bordeaux is famous for its red wines with 90% of the production as very fine red wine. However, Bordeaux is also very capable producing great white Bordeaux wine. These are traditionally made from Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Sauvignon Gris. The famous sweet, white Bordeaux wines are made from Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle which have been affected by noble rot, also known as botrytis.
Bordeaux Wine and Food Pairing:
Generally, the more expensive the wine, the more decanting it might need, depending on the vintage. Lesser wines might need little or no decanting to be delicious. Decanting allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. The wine will also gently warm in the glass, releasing its aromatics. Older vintages might also need decanting, for both aerating and to remove the sediment.
Red Bordeaux wine is best served with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, roasted, braised and grilled dishes.
Red Bordeaux is a perfect match with Asian dishes, hearty fish courses like tuna, salmon, mushrooms and pasta as well as cheese.
Dry white Bordeaux wine is a perfect wine to serve with shellfish, sashimi, sushi, all types of seafood, chicken, veal, and cheese.
Sweet Bordeaux wine is best paired with cheese, spicy foods, Chinese or Asian food, rich seafood like crab, lobster, and chicken, veal or pork.
Please review the fine samples below or go to our main website, winetospirits.com for selections from around the world.
Chateau La Fleur Peyrabon 2014
Chateau Prieure Lichine 2012
Chateau La Lagune 2004
Chateau Gruaud LaRose 2012
Chateau Chasse Spleen 1996
Chateau Cantemerle 2012
Chateau Margaux 1990
Chateau D’Yquem 2017
Chateau La Croix Du Casse 2005
Chateau La Confession 2015