From the beginner wine enthusiast to the most knowledgeable connoisseur, great Bordeaux wines are known and loved throughout the world. Located near the Atlantic Coast in the southwest of France, Bordeaux is the largest fine wine producing region in the world. Falling on the 45th Parallel, halfway between the Equator and the North Pole, Bordeaux is blessed with temperate winters and long, warm summers that are ideal for growing grapes. One of the oldest and largest wine regions in the world, Bordeaux spans around 118,000 hectares of vines and an average annual production of 5 million hl. The great Bordeaux region is home to 60 appellations, some of which are among the most prestigious and renowned in the world of wine.
The Bordeaux region also boasts one of the most unique wine commerce systems in the world. The "Place de Bordeaux" is a network of nearly 7,000 wine producers, 300 wine merchants and around 100 wine brokers (or “courtiers,” a profession unique to Bordeaux), all fundamental players in the marketing and sale of Bordeaux wines.
Margaux, Pauillac, Pessac-Léognan, Saint-Émilion, Pomerol, Sauternes… Long is the list of world-famous AOC appellations, each one known for its unique terroir and wines. The great reputation of Bordeaux wines stems mostly from the quality of its red wines. These Bordeaux red wines are made with the famous Bordeaux blend, made up of 5 grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. This Bordeaux blend is quite popular internationally, recreated in many other wine regions in the world. But the Bordeaux region also produces some excellent white wines, both dry wines, sweet wines and sparkling wines, from Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon. The best known Bordeaux white wines are produced mostly in the Entre-deux-Mers and Graves areas. Meanwhile, Sauternes and Barzac are famous for their golden-coloured sweet wines.
More particularly, Bordeaux wines are divided between the wines of the Right Bank and those of the Left Bank – two very different styles coming from the vast differences in soil and terroir. The Right Bank (meaning the right bank of the Gironde and the Dordogne, to the north of the Bordeaux region) includes regions such as Bourgeais, Blayais and Castillon. This is where you will also find the famous Saint-Emilion, Pomerol and Fronsac appellations. The wines of the Right Bank come from soils predominantly composed of clay-limestone, with the exception of Pomerol, whose vines are planted in soils of gravel, clay and sandy soil. Due to the nature of the soil, Merlot is the flagship grape variety of the Right Bank, contributing its varietal qualities to the wines from here. Right Bank Bordeaux wines thus sport a great body and high alcohol, as well as a nose marked by intense black fruit, blackberry, plum and cherry aromas.
The Left Bank includes the Médoc and Gravesregions. Here, Cabernet Sauvignon is the star grape variety, flourishing in the Left Bank’s gravel soils, which capture the warmth of the sunshine during the day and transmit it to the vines during the night. The wines of the Left Bank are known for their magnificent personality, their typical aromatic profile characterised by stewed black fruits. Left Bank Bordeaux wines also offer a remarkable tannic structure, which softens wonderfully over time. These legendary wines are designed to age.