The largest region within France, Bordeaux has made quite the name for itself with its prestigious producers and fine wines. Bordeaux, having a moderate maritime climate, sees much influence from the nearby gulf stream including warming effects, rainfall and humidity which is why you’ll find a number of their vineyards closer to the ocean with a high gravel soil content. You may hear the term “Bordeaux Blend” thrown around or used in other countries pertaining to their wines that are made from multiple “Bordeaux” grape varietals and blended together. When this term is used it means the winemaker has included these 5 main grape varietals that are traditional to the Bordeaux region: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. Customary white grape varieties from Bordeaux are Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle. In the famous regions of Sauternes and Barsac you’ll find these classic white grapes used to make top quality sweet wine.
Bordeaux has many distinguished appellations within the large region often characterized by “left bank” or “right bank.” The Dordogne and Garonne rivers form the Gironde Estuary that divides the Bordeaux vineyards into these separate “banks.” Falling on the left bank are the principal districts of Médoc/Haut-Médoc, Graves and Sauternes. Within each of these districts lies smaller appellations home to some of the most famous Château houses around the world. On the opposite side, Saint-Émilion and Pomerol make up the right bank where a vast majority of the Merlot grape is grown.