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.
The left bank of Bordeaux (f.e. St. Estephe, Pauillac, St. Julien, Margaux, Graves) is dominated by the Cabernet Sauvignon grape. The worlds best Cabernet Sauvignon wines come from the left bank, like Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Chateau Margaux, Chateau Haut Brion, Chateau Latour and Chateau lafite Rothschild. These wines spend a couple of years in wooden (oak) casks before being bottled.
Black fruit (cassis). And warm tones (tobacco and chocolate) or spices. When cabernet sauvignon is not fully matured, green peppers will show up.
In Bordeaux there are no cepage Cabernet Sauvignon wines, the wines are always blended with other grapes like Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec. The strength of the Cabernet Sauvignon grape mixes well with the softness and roundness of f.e. Merlot and typical aromas of other varieties.
The right bank of Bordeaux (f.e. St. Emillion, Pomerol) is dominated by the Merlot grape. Merlot is soft and can bring complexity to the wines. On the right bank it is combined with Cabernet Franc. There are (almost) no cepage merlot wines in the right bank Bordeaux.
Black fruit and dried fruit (plum, fig). Spices, animal and earthy elements emerge.
Merlot on the right bank give soft and powerful wines. Most merlot wines can be cellared very well and can age for decades. Where cabernet sauvignon stands for peasantness and strength, merlot stands for softness and elegance.
In colder climates Sauvignon blanc are fresh and citrus flavoured. In warmer climates like Bordeaux the aromas are completely different: warm and tropical. The most famous Sauvignon Blanc white wines come from Bordeaux: Chateau Haut Brion Blanc, Smith Haut Lafite and Pape Clement for example. But also the most famous sweet wines are often Sauvignon Blanc bases, like Chateau D'Yquem, Chateau Rieussec f.e.
Mainly tropical fruit elements.
Bordeaux is knows for its sweet white wines. But more and more Sauvignon Blanc white dry wines are emerging.
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.