Bordeaux is the wine region that, together with Burgundy, boasts the prestige of the world's best red wines.
Produced almost entirely from red grapes, the wines are of impressive structure and longevity, the reason for their worldwide success. Let us not forget that the excellence of the botrytised whites, unique and inimitable elsewhere, the exceptional Sauternes, has also contributed to their fame.
Between the Atlantic ocean on the west coast, the two rivers Dordogne and Garonne flow into the Gironde estuary: this makes for a mild, temperate climate and the surrounding wooded area shields against the harsh winter cold.
The soil is also unique: the presence of the rivers gives a wealth of pebbles and gravel with draining powers. A boon for the vines!
The red grape varieties cultivated are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, which together make up the now recognised brand name, the famous Bordeaux blend. Malbec and Petit Verdot constitute a minority.
As far as whites are concerned, less cultivated, with the exception of wines destined for the production of Sauternes, are Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle and Ugni Blanc.
To untangle the difficult world of appellations, read the topic here.
World fame, increased demand and diminishing supply have meant that these wines, especially those of the great Chateaux, are either unobtainable or at very high prices. However, excellent compromises can also be found at sustainable prices and with the characteristics of great wines.
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