Bordeaux wine appellation in the Bordeaux region of France Restaurants, Wine, Travel, Opinions

Bordeaux wine appellation
Wine appellation

Reviewed By

Sue Dyson and Roger McShane
Country: France

The Bordeaux wine appellation is one of the most famous and widely known in France along with Burgundy and Champagne. There are many sub-appellations here producing bold reds, crisp whites and luscious sweet wines.
The area covered by the Bordeaux appellation is large. It starts where the of the Gironde River in South West France flows into the Atlantic and continues upstream to where the Garonne and Dordogne rivers merge into the Gironde. The area between these two rivers is known as Entre-Deux-Mers.
On the southern side of the Gironde (known as the left bank) starting closest to the Atlantic is Medoc followed by St Estephe, Paulliac (home to the famous Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Chateau Latour and Chateau Mouton-Rothschild), St Julien the Haut Medoc and then Margaux (home to Chateau Margaux). Further inland on the southern side of the Garonne lies Pessac Leognan (home to Chateau Haut-Brion), Graves and the sweet wine appellations of Barsac and then Sauternes.
On the northern side (right bank) of the Dordogne River is Pomerol, Lalande-de-Pomerol, St Emilion and the emerging Cotes de Castillon where some very exciting and good value wines are being produced. Higher up the slopes is the new appellation of Cotes de Francs.
There are two other broad areas associated with Bordeaux on the right bank of the Gironde - known as Cotes de Bourg and Cotes de Blaye. The quality of the wines from these areas varies considerably but some such as La Croix de Perenne and Guerry, for example, are very good indeed.
The main grape varieties for red Bordeaux wines are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot with Malbec and Carmenere also permitted in some areas (Malbec is used in some interesting wines produced in the Cotes de Francs, for example.) In St Emilion and Pomerol Merlot is often favoured over Cabernet Sauvignon for the opulent wines produced in those areas.
The main grape varieties for white wines in this region are Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Muscadelle.
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