One of the world's most delicate wines are made in the Bordeaux region. The character and finesse of the best Bordeaux wines in unique. Bordeaux is seen as an example all over the world, using the grape varieties cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc. And even the white wines are among the best in the world, wines made from sauvignon blanc and semillion. Both sweet and dry, these wines are leading the way.
In addition to their complexity and strength, Bordeaux wines are best known for their elegance, their terroir and style: a flavour profile that is unique in the world and typical of every region within bordeaux. The fact that each region has its specific characteristics and style has to do with the terroir, the soil condition in combination with the location of the vineyards and the climate. Winemakers make full use of this combination. This together with the centuries of knowledge and experience ensures that every Bordeaux is different and unique. Whereas in napa valley in a large area, for example, various red wines can be very similar, the taste profile of two Bordeaux wines that are only a few hundred meters apart can vary enormously.
Bordeaux is characterised by its long shelf life. The best wines from Bordeaux are only drunk after 10 years or more and in many cases can still be drunk with pleasure after 30 years or more. They then develop a taste that can only be achieved through decades of maturation. Examples of these kinds of wines a few over. At Best of Wines these wines are drunk weekly, a fine example of a Bordeaux wine that developed a unique taste after long maturation is the Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1870.
In 1855, the best Bordeaux wines were classified. The so-called First Growths were considered the best wines.
First-Growths / Premières Crus
Château Lafite Rothschild Pauillac
Château Latour Pauillac
Château Margaux Margaux
Château Haut-Brion Pessac, Graves (since 1986, Pessac-Léognan)
Chateau Mouton Rothschild (since 1973, before that second growth)
Second-Growths / Deuxièmes Crus
Château Rausan-Ségla (Rauzan-Ségla) Margaux
Château Rauzan-Gassies Margaux
Château Léoville Las Cases St.-Julien
Château Léoville Poyferré St.-Julien
Château Léoville Barton St.-Julien
Château Durfort-Vivens Margaux
Château Gruaud-Larose St.-Julien
Château Lascombes Margaux
Château Brane-Cantenac Cantenac-Margaux (Margaux)
Château Pichon-Longueville Baron Pauillac
Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande (Pichon Longueville Lalande) Pauillac
Château Ducru-Beaucaillou St.-Julien
Château Cos-d'Estournel St.-Estèphe
Château Montrose St.-Estèphe
Third-Growths / Troisièmes Crus
Château Kirwan Cantenac-Margaux (Margaux)
Château d'Issan Cantenac-Margaux (Margaux)
Château Lagrange St.-Julien
Château Langoa Barton St.-Julien
Château Giscours Labarde-Margaux (Margaux)
Château Malescot-St.-Exupéry Margaux
Château Cantenac-Brown Cantenac-Margaux (Margaux)
Château Boyd-Cantenac Margaux
Château Palmer Cantenac-Margaux (Margaux)
Château La Lagune Ludon (Haut-Médoc)
Château Desmirail Margaux
Château Calon-Ségur St.-Estèphe
Château Ferrière Margaux
Château Marquis-d'Alesme-Becker Margaux
Fourth-Growths / Quatrièmes Crus
Château St.-Pierre St.-Julien
Château Talbot St.-Julien
Château Branaire-Ducru St.-Julien
Château Duhart-Milon Rothschild Pauillac
Château Pouget Cantenac-Margaux (Margaux)
Château La Tour Carnet St.-Laurent (Haut-Médoc)
Château Lafon-Rochet St.-Estèphe
Château Beychevelle St.-Julien
Château Prieuré-Lichine Cantenac-Margaux (Margaux)
Château Marquis de Terme Margaux
Fifth-Growths / Cinquièmes Crus
Château Pontet-Canet Pauillac
Château Batailley Pauillac
Château Haut-Batailley Pauillac
Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste Pauillac
Château Grand-Puy-Ducasse Pauillac
Château Lynch Bages Pauillac
Château Lynch-Moussas Pauillac
Château Dauzac Labarde (Margaux)
Château Mouton-Baronne-Philippe (Château d'Armailhac after 1989) Pauillac
Château du Tertre Arsac (Margaux)
Château Haut-Bages Libéral Pauillac
Château Pédesclaux Pauillac
Château Belgrave St.-Laurent (Haut-Médoc)
Château Camensac (Château de Camensac) St.-Laurent (Haut-Médoc)
Château Cos Labory St.-Estèphe
Château Clerc Milon Pauillac
Château Croizet-Bages Pauillac
Château Cantemerle Macau (Haut-Médoc)
Since then, this classification has not changed, which is of course special, as a lot has changed. For example, some fifth growths could be a second growth effortlessly, if price and popularity are looked at and vice versa.
The above classification consists exclusively of wines from the left bank of bordeaux. The left bank of the Gironde. These are the areas with the appleations Pauillac, St. Julien, St. Estephe, Margaux, Graves, Haut Medoc. But the Bordeaux consists of two large and important areas. Because besides the left bank there is also the right bank with the famous appelations and regions St. Emillion and Pomerol.
The difference between the left and right banks is mainly the terroir and the grape varieties used. On the left bank more Cabernet Sauvignon is used, on the right bank lake Merlot.
There is also a qualification on the right bank (which can, however, change).
Premiers Grands Crus Classés A
Château Angelus (A)
Château Ausone (A)
Château Cheval Blanc (A)
Château Pavie (A)
Premiers Grands Crus Classés B
Château Beausejour Duffau-Lagarrosse
Château Beau-Sejour Becot
Château Canon La Gaffeliere
Château La Gaffeliere
Château Larcis Ducasse
Château Pavie Macquin
Château Troplong Mondot
Château Trotte Vieille
Grands Crus Classés (some examples)
Château Barde Haut
Château Couvent des Jacobins
Château La Dominique
Château de Ferrand
Château Fleur Cardinale
Château Grand Mayne
Clos des Jacobins
Château Pavie Decesse
Château Quinault L’Enclos
Château Tertre Daugay
Château La Tour Figeac
It is striking that there is no qualification for Pomerol. What perhaps the biggest star and best of Bordeaux is missing: Chateau Petrus.
Most of the grapes used in Bordeaux for red wines are Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. For white wines this is the Sauvignon Blanc.
This is the best known and most accepted grape variety, both in taste and for cultivation. Wherever the cabernet sauvignon is grown in the world, the wine gives its typical aromas, power and colour everywhere. And the wines of the cabernet sauvignon have by the very present Tannin good maturation possibilities.
Characteristic is the black fruit (blackseed, cassis). In addition also the typical dark (burning) tones (tobacco and chocolate). If cabernet sauvignon is not fully matured, it can produce vegetable elements (green peppers).
The wines lend themselves very well for maturation in wooden barrels. The cabernet sauvignon is a grape that blends well with other grapes. This often creates beautiful combinations. The typical elements of cabernet sauvignon (stiffness, strength) are then supplemented by the specific flavour elements (often softness, roundness) of other grape varieties (e.g. merlot and syrah). In bordeaux, cabernet sauvignon is almost always mixed with merlot, in the southern hemisphere often with syrah (also called shiraz).
The grape varieties merlot and cabernet sauvignon form a close couple. When cabernet sauvignon and merlot are in one wine (a cabernet sauvignon-merlot blend), the merlot grape makes the wine more complex and softer. The merlot grape can also produce beautiful wines in itself.
Flavour elements that dominate merlot wines are black fruit (black-haired) and dried fruit (plum, fig). Furthermore, especially spicy (licorice), animal and earthy (forest smell) elements emerge.
The merlot grape gives very typical, soft and powerful wines, which can also ripen very well. Where cabernet sauvignon stands for peasantness and strength, merlot stands for softness and elegance.
This grape is less easy to grow than the chardonnay. Due to the rapid growth, pruning is good, otherwise the grape vines are overshadowed and the grapes are not ripe properly. With too much sun, the grape loses its acidity and thus its freshness.
Due to the acidity and aromas of gooseber, citrus fruit (grapefruit) and vegetable-like elements (asparage), as well as freshly cut grass, sauvignon blanc wines are refreshing. More mature sauvignon blanc sometimes develops a boxwood aroma, which is very characteristic. In warmer
sauvignon blanc develops mainly tropical fruit elements.
The sauvignon blanc grape is also used for making sweet wines (including Sauternes).
The best Bordeaux wines can be followed in both the qualification of the left bank and the right bank wines, although of course there is contention.
On the left bank the best wines are the premier cru wines Chateau Margaux, Chateau Latour, Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Chateau Lafite Rothschild and Chateau Haut Brion.
On the right bank, the best wines in the St. Emillion are the Premiers Grands Crus Classés A wines Château Angelus, Château Ausone, Château Cheval Blanc and Château Pavie. And in the Pomerol, it's Chateau Petrus and Chateau Le Pin.
Bordeaux is not only world famous for its best red and white wines. The sweet white wines can also be counted among the very best in the world.
The Sauternes and Barsac region supplies these beautiful wines that can easily age 50 or over without loss of quality. The grapes are harvested late after they have been affected by Botrytis, noble rotting. The harvest volume is low, the sugar content is high and the concentration is enormous. The value for money of these wines is often fantastic.
Famous Sauternes include the wines of Chateau D'yquem, Chateau Climens and Chateau Rieussec.