Introducing the Bordeaux Wine Region

Bordeaux is the largest vineyard region in France, home to 54 appellations of Bordeaux wine. Known for its high-quality terroirs, Bordeaux offers distinct flavors but has a wide variety of price points and producers.
Bordeaux Wine Region Vineyards of Saint Emilion
Bordeaux Wine Region Vineyards of Saint Emilion

Bordeaux is the largest vineyard region in France, home to 54 appellations of Bordeaux wine. Known for its high-quality terroirs, Bordeaux offers distinct flavors but has a wide variety of price points and producers. Red Bordeaux Blends are generally made from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Malbec grapes. According to the region’s official website, “Our diverse appellations and crus/wines represent a broad palette of climates, soil types, and grape varieties.”

Quick Facts:

  • Bordeaux: “au bord de l’eau” – “along the waters”
  • Nearly 90% of wine produced is Red

About the Bordeaux Region

Bordeaux is the largest fine-wine region in the world. It is larger than all of Germany’s vineyards put together, and ten times larger than all of New Zealand’s vineyards. Bordeaux supplies about 700 million bottles of wine a year, about 90% of which are red wines.  Known for wine that can age for many years, Bordeaux’s location is a huge factor in why the wines are so well received.

Located near the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by three rivers and many small streams, water places a crucial part in the Bordeaux wines we know and love. The name Bordeaux comes from “au bord de l’eau”, French for “along the waters”. Bordeaux vines benefit from the mild and balanced weather provided by the Gulf Stream-warmed ocean and three large surrounding rivers. The waters are aided by the pine forests to the south and west which block potential frosts, cold snaps, and summer storms.

Both red and white Bordeaux wines are usually a blend of two or more grape varietals in order to get the more complex flavors associated with the Bordeaux region. Not all grapes blend well together, but Bordeaux employs the best blending techniques and has had the best blending recipes in place for quite some time!

Bordeaux Wine Types and Styles

In Bordeaux, there are five red grape varieties used that are typically blended together: Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. Some Chateaux blend all five grapes together, while others blend less, depending on the location. The two main red grapes used are Merlot (fleshy and round) and Cabernet Sauvignon (structured). Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon balance each other nicely, and the tannins of the Cabernet Sauvignon help to act as a preservative, which is why Bordeaux wines can age for such a long time.

White Bordeaux is typically a blend of two main varietals: Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. Muscadelle can also be included in the blend. Lesser-known varietals used in Bordeaux Blanc include Colombard and Ugni Blanc. The main grapes blended are Semillon (dry and heavy) and Sauvignon Blanc (crisp and floral). When aged, Semillon becomes creamy with a hint of honey. Sauvignon Blanc is the opposite of Semillon: wild and zesty. Sauvignon Blanc originates from Bordeaux and it is an ancient grape varietal that is even older than Cabernet Sauvignon! Together, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc create a beautifully balanced and complex white wine.

Bordeaux is divided into two main areas: Left Bank and Right Bank. The Left Bank is known for Cabernet-based blends and includes the appellations of Margaux, Pauillac, Saint Julien, Saint Estephe, Pessac Leognan, and the Haut Medoc. The Right Bank is known for Merlot-based blends and includes the famous appellations of Saint Emilion and Pomerol, as well as many satellite appellations (to name a few: Cotes de Castillon, Lalande de Pomerol and Fronsac).

Chateau Lynch Bages Pauillac

Chateau Lynch Bages is a famous Left Bank Bordeaux wine that is made of a blend dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon. In the 1855 Classification, Chateau Lynch Bages was named a Fifth Growth. The estate owes its name to the hamlet of Bages where generations of winemakers lived. In the mid-1700s, the Lynch family acquired the estate. It is now owned by the Cazes family and was purchased by them just before World War II.

Flavor profile: Opulent, elegant, structured and finessed. Cassis, Blackberry, Black Cherry and Graphite are classic elements of the wine’s aroma and flavor profile.

Acidity: Balanced

Tannin: Powerful

Serving temperature: 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Chateau Angelus Saint Emilion

Chateau Angelus Saint Emilion is famous Right Bank Bordeaux wine that is made of a blend dominated by Merlot. In the 2012 Saint Emilion Classification, Chateau Angelus gained its classification of Premier Grand Cru Classe A. In 2022, Stephanie de Bouard announced that the estate would no longer be a part of the Classification.
The estate has been in the de Boüard family for eight generations. The famous Saint Emilion bell is amplified throughout the surrounding area by the shape of the land. The bell is a symbol of devotion that is included on the Chateau Angelus label.

Flavor profile: Silky, velvety, opulent and concentrated. Black Raspberry, Plum, Violet and Licorice are classic elements of the wine’s aroma and flavor profile.

Acidity: Balanced

Tannin: Fine, Plush

Serving temperature: 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Chateau Smith Haut-Lafitte Pessac Leognan Blanc

Chateau Smith Haut-Lafitte Pessac Leognan Blanc is one of the most renowned White Bordeaux wines. Recent vintages have been a blend of 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Sauvignon Gris and 5% Sémillon. The estate has a long history that goes back over 800 years. It was purchased by the Cathiard family in 1990 and is owned and managed by Daniel Cathiard and Florence Cathiard.

Flavor profile: Apple, Grapefruit, Stonefruit and Minerality are classic elements of the wine’s aroma and flavor profile.

Acidity: Vibrant and Energetic

Serving temperature: 10 degrees Celsius, 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

History of Bordeaux

Established by a Celtic tribe during the 3rd century BC, the city was originally name Burdigala. Bordeaux has been a very important strategic point and port city throughout history due to the location on the Garonne River. In the early part of “Anno Domini”, the city became part of the Roman Empire and vineyards were planted. In the middle ages, the wedding of Eleanor, the Duchess of Aquitaine, and Henry Plantagenet, the future King of England, was a very important moment in the history of Bordeaux. The 12th century marked a “golden age” for Bordeaux; the city became tied to England and the wine trade flourished, establishing a mode of commerce that is still alive today. The One Hundred Years’ War between France and England put a temporary stop to the flow of trade, and although it resumed during 1475, the relationship was not at its former level of vigor.

In the 17th century, a new distribution channel was opened with the Dutch, which brought a second era of abundance. During the 19th century, the Emperor Napoleon III requested a classification system for the best wines of France and thus, the 1855 Classification took place where all of the Grands Crus classés were named. This prompted a new era of prosperity and a resulting increase in wine quality. Fast forward to the modern day, and Bordeaux continues to be a thriving region for wine production and wine tourism.

Our favorite Bordeaux wine recommendations

For personalized recommendations of Bordeaux wine and more, get in touch with one of our fine wine experts.

750ml
Minimum order 1 bottle. No cancellations or refunds. ETA approx. months from buy date.
95+
$134.00 24 Available
750ml
Arriving in 2022. Discounts do not apply.
91-93
94-95
93-95
$48.00 2 Available
750ml
Minimum order 1 bottle. No cancellations or refunds. ETA approx. months from buy date.
98
$256.00 12 Available
750ml
Minimum order 1 bottle. No cancellations or refunds. ETA approx. months from buy date.
$129.00 12 Available

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More on the Blog

Introducing the Bordeaux Wine Region

Bordeaux is the largest vineyard region in France, home to 54 appellations of Bordeaux wine. Known for its high-quality terroirs, Bordeaux offers distinct flavors but has a wide variety of price points and producers.

Read More »

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