French Bordeaux Wines

French Bordeaux Wines

In terms of producing fine wines Bordeaux is the largest and most important region of French. Throughout its long history Bordeaux has had connections with England, and during a 300-year spell from 1152, was under English rule. In many ways, the British wine trade developed around Claret.

Bordeaux lies on the rivers Garonne and Dordogne, which join to become the Gironde, before flowing into the Atlantic. The climate, influenced by the sea and rivers, is mild, slightly humid and summers tend to be long and war. The soil in Bordeaux is generally gravel, clay or sand and limestone. Gravel's warmand well-draining properties suit Cabernet Sauvignon, and can be found in the Haut-Médoc, while the clay and limestone soil of St Émilion and Pomerol is preferable for MErlot and Cabernet Franc. The Petit Verdot grape adds 'seasoning' to the wines of the Médoc and Graves (Left Bank), while Malbec contributes color and fruitiness in both Left Bank and Right Bank wines, such as those from the Côtes de Bourg. These grape varieties are blended together in varying percentages from château to château, to make Bordeaux red wines.

Bordeaux Wines

The white wines of Bordeaux are made from three main varieties of grape: Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle, with some Colombard and Ugni Blanc being incorporated into the lesser wines. Sémillon's lemon characteristics and relatively high alcohol content make it a popular choice for both dry and sweet dessert wines. Lowish in acidity, it's often blended with the early ripening Sauvignon, which is lively both in aromatics and acidity. Muscadelle adds a certain peachy, musky and floral quality. Bordeaux also produces Rosé and Claret.

Bordeaux's most famous red wines are the classified first growths, Cru Classé of the Médoc, such as Chateao Latour, and the Merlot-dominated wines of St Émilion and Pomerol, such as Château Cheval-Blanc and Château Petrus. Outstanding dry whites include Château Carbonnieux, but it is the sweet wines of Sauternes, which are probably better known, such as the first growth of Château d'Yquem.

Did you know ? Red wine production accounts for around 85% of the total Bordeaux wine production. Bordeaux grows a small amount of the white Merlot, as opposed to the famous Merlot Noir grape.

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