One of the most copied blend around the world includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and sometimes Carménère. Each producer has its individual blend and with the proportion changing the difference in the flavor can be significantly.
“Medium to full bodied, dark fruit aromas, earthiness with a smell of wet soil.” That might be one way to explain a typical wine from Bordeaux, but having passionate winemakers all around the world, this Blend can offer anything from tart to sweet ripe fruit aromas, medium bodied-juicy wines to dense and powerful wines for the cellar to smooth and silky finish all the way to mouth drying tannins.
The Right Bank Bordeaux
The Main grape varietal on the “Right Bank” is Merlot and its primarily a blending grape. The bolder and slightly bigger style of this area tends to have smoother and very silky tannins thanks to the high percentage of Merlot.
Merlot (usually over 60% of the blend)
The Left Bank Bordeaux
The two main regions of the left side are Médoc (home to 4 of the 5 Premier Cru of Bordeaux) and Graves (which has the 5. Premier Cru). Both of those appellations have several subregions and the main grape grown in this area is Cabernet Sauvignon that makes the tannins more aggressive and add some peppery notes.
Cabernet Sauvignon (usually over 60% of the blend)
Petit Verdot (usually under 2% of the blend)
The 1855 Bordeaux Classification
Napoleon III decided to throw a universal exposition in Paris with all the country’s wines represented. He invited Bordeaux’s Chamber of Commerce to arrange an exhibit. Some wine merchants took on the task to create a list of all the Chateaux of Bordeaux classified from First to Fifth Growth. This list never intended to be an official ranking but only to offer you a sketch drawn from the best sources.
Till today this list barely changed. The biggest news came in 1973 when Baron Philippe de Rothschild succeeded in having Mouton Rothschild elevated to first growth.
First Growth (Premier Cru)
Château Lafite Rothschild Pauillac
Château Latour Pauillac
Château Margaux Margaux
Château Haut-Brion Pessac, Graves (since 1986, Pessac-Leognan)
Château Mouton-Rothschild (became a first-growth in 1973) Pauillac
Aside from red wines Bordeaux makes some serious whites and even the world famous sweet wine of Sauternes with is nutty aftertaste (thanks to the nobe rot Botrytis Cinerea).
The main white grape varietals are Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle (those 3 are also the only ones allowed in Sauternes)
The diversity of this region with its difference in soil, climate, winemaking, blend style and aging makes it the perfect place to explore for every passionate drinker. Find yourself a little sub region, see what makes this sweet wine so unique, or have some fun with Bordeaux Blanc – a zesty blend that is both crisp and well structured.
Whatever you feel like, Bordeaux has it! Start your journey to this unbelievable wine region today and stop missing out on some of the finest wines France has to offer.
Your Vino Veritas Team