Bordeaux Wine – The Bordeaux Basics Guide

Bordeaux: Left Bank vs. Right Bank Wines

Bordeaux is the most famous and highly coveted wine blend in the world. Like many wines with a long history, there’s a lot to learn, so we’re here to just cover the basics.

While there are both red and white Bordeauxs, the name Bordeaux is primarily associated with the red wine blend. Red Bordeaux is a red wine that is always made from blending Cabernet Sauvignon wine and Merlot wine together, though the proportion of each depends on the location of the winery that made the wine.

In the Bordeaux region of France, where the wine is made, the Gironde estuary cuts through the center of the region creating two banks: a left bank and a right bank. It is a winery’s location on either bank that determines the proportion of Merlot to Cabernet inside each wine. If the winery is located on the Left Bank, the blend created will have more Cabernet Sauvignon than Merlot. If the winery is instead located on the Right Bank of the river, the wine will have more Merlot in the blend than Cabernet Sauvignon. This determination also allows us to make a few generalizations about the wine depending on the bank on which it was created. Here are the general rules:

Left Bank blends tend to be higher in tannins, alcohol and acidity. They are powerful, rich wines that are said to age a bit better than wines from the Right Bank. This is also the bank that made the region famous.

Right bank blends tend to be softer, less tannic and lower in alcohol and acidity. Because Merlot is the dominant grape, they are much more juicy and usually ready to be drunk much earlier than Left Bank Bordeauxs, and they’re often less expensive.

In addition to using Cabernet and Merlot, winemakers may also blend in wines such as Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc, but all a winemaker actually needs to make a Bordeaux blend is Merlot and Cabernet.

A Map Of Bordeaux Wine RegionsNow that we understand the basics of Bordeaux, let’s get into why the wine is so famous.

The success of Bordeaux can be boiled down to one simple trait: it’s location. Bordeaux not only possess an ideal climate and soil for growing grapes, but, due to the fact that it’s served as a major port city for centuries, it also gave the local winemakers the opportunity to access different regions of the world via its visitors. Unlike Burgundy, another famous wine region that is completely landlocked, Bordeaux was able to capitalize on the ships and wealthy merchants that filled its port daily, always sending them off with wine.

White Bordeaux is an incredible value white wine blend that is crisp and refreshing!

As wealthy merchants returned to their home countries with wine, Bordeaux’s acclaim spread. Wealthy trading classes in Great Britain and the Netherlands, having access to the merchants traveling back and forth to Bordeaux, began collecting the wine and it was from this point on that Bordeaux cemented its reputation as one of the fine wines of the higher class.

Thanks to its popularity, there is so much Bordeaux on the market that bottles can be found at all levels of quality and price. Very good Bordeaux from smaller producers that is meant to be drunk now can be found for between $15 and $25, while age-worthy Bordeaux from the top producers can be found starting at $30 and above.

Château MargauxChâteau Margaux is one of the five First Growth wine estates in Bordeaux.

The history of Bordeaux makes it a wonderful wine for a special occasion, whether that occasion is celebrating a life event or simply celebrating a night in with the ones you love. Whatever the case, we believe Bordeaux is a wine meant to be enjoyed with others.

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