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Bordeaux Wine Information



Bordeaux Region The region of Bordeaux, France is largest region of wine growing in the world. Bordeaux is made up of five main districts - Medoc, St. Emilion, Pomerol, Graves, and Sauternes. While Medoc and the entire region are best known for their reds ("Clarets"), white wines also have their place. Graves creates dry whites, and Sauternes is known for its sweet whites.


When people just say "bordeaux wine", they typically mean the classic red blend. The red Bordeaux are created with Cabernet Sauvignon, often blended with Cabernet Franc and Merlot. The color tends to be a garnet/ruby shade. The flavor is typically a light one, with blackberry, black fruits, wood, and other notes. A classic Bordeaux is said to have a "cigar box" aroma to it.

Graves, the dry whites, are made by blending mostly Sauvignon Blanc with a small amount of Sauvignon Gris. Sauternes, the sweeter whites, are made with Sémillon, Sauvignon and a drop of Muscadelle.

Bordeaux Glass There are many levels of quality of wine grown in Bordeaux, so for the 1855 Exposition Universelle de Paris (sort of like a World Fair) Napoléon III asked a panel to break the region's wines down by price (therefore, hopefully, quality as well). These classifications of 1855 were never meant to be an official quality roster.


The classifications were grouped by region within Bordeaux, and remain mostly unchanged even today.

Bordeaux is divided by the Gironde River and Garonne River. To the west, or "left bank", contains the capital city of Bordeaux. The Left Bank is the more well known of the two banks. It contains Medoc, Graves, Margaux, Pauillac, and Pessac-Léognan.

To the east, or "right bank", is Pomerol and St-Émilion. In the middle of the two is the Entre-Duex-Mers (between two seas) area.

The first level ratings are listed below; See the classifications of 1855 for the lower level Bordeaux wines.

"First Growths" (Premiers Crus) of Medoc (red) Bordeaux (1855):


First Growths (Premiers Crus) Classés of St-Émilion (1985):


Sauternes Cru Chart

The St-Émilion classification was added 130 years later than the others. A classification was also done for Graves, but this was only done by red/white type and not by quality.

Legally, the grapes that can be included in a red bordeaux can only come from these varieties:
Cabernet Sauvignon
Merlot
Cabernet Franc
Petit Verdot
Malbec
Carmenere

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