Bordeaux, which is located in southwestern France near the Atlantic Coast, is one of the most famous wine-producing regions in the world. This sprawling wine region sets the standard for red wines, and it also produces limited quantities of white wines as well. More than 850 million bottles of wine are produced in this massive region every year, and more than 250,000 acres are under vine. There are more than 20,000 producers of Bordeaux wines, and around 100 of them have achieved worldwide acclaim. You haven't experienced truly exceptional red wine if you've never sampled a finely aged Bordeaux.
Regions of Bordeaux
This region is named after the city of the same name, which is situated on the Garonne River. It is made up of several distinct regions. The two main regions of Bordeaux are made up of smaller regions that are collectively known as the Left Bank and the Right Bank, which refer to the two banks of the Gironde River. Sub-regions of the Left Bank include Medoc, St.-Estephe, Pauillac, Margaux and St.-Julien. Sub-regions of the Right Bank include Saint Emilion, Bourg, Pomerol and Blaye. Another notable region of Bordeaux is Graves, which is considered to be the birthplace of claret and produced the first wines that were exported to England.
History of Bordeaux Wine
Wine making has been taking place in Bordeaux for thousands of years. The first vineyards in the area were established around AD 48, which is when the Romans occupied the area around Saint Emilion. Bordeaux wines enjoyed a surge in popularity during the 13th century, and the region currently has 60 appellations and more than 8,500 chateaux.
Characteristics of Bordeaux Wine
Five grapes are commonly used to make Bordeaux wine: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Just about every wine produced in Bordeaux includes a blend of different grapes, but Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon generally dominate. Wines from this region are considered to be among the best-aging wines in the world, and they are designed to age. Depending on the vintage, a Bordeaux wine can improve with age over anywhere from five to 100 years. The calcium-rich soils of the region make it an optimal place for these exceptional wines, and the many rivers that wind through the region provide ample amounts of irrigation. In the world of high-quality wines, it is tough to beat a well-aged bottle from the Bordeaux region.