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Bordeaux Wine

Bordeaux, in the south-west of France, needs little introduction to anyone with an interest in wine. One of the world's most prolific wine regions, it also manages to rank among the most famous and prestigious. The secrets of Bordeaux's wine success (other than magical Bordeaux Blend) are its three trump cards: diversity, quality and quantity.

The majority of Bordeaux wines are the dry, medium-bodied reds that made the region famous. The finest (and most expensive) of these come from the great chateaux of the Medoc, particularly those in Pauillac and Margaux, and from the "right bank" appellations Saint-Emilion and Pomerol. The legendary reds are complemented by high quality white wines, both the dry styles of Pessac-Leognan and the sweet, botrytized nectars of Sauternes. (© Wine-Searcher.com)

A Bordeaux chateau and vineyards

The official Bordeaux viticultural region stretches for 80 miles (130km) inland from the Atlantic coast. It is home to more than 10,000 producers, who turn out a vast quantity of wine each vintage. These range from inexpensive everyday wines through to some of the world’s most expensive and prestigious labels. Bottles of dry red wine produced under the region's generic Bordeaux appellation can be bought for just a few dollars. Those from the top chateaux are regularly traded for several thousand dollars.

Bordeaux's climate is well moderated by its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the presence of the various rivers (the Dordogne, the Garonne and the Gironde Estuary into which they flow). The region takes its name (which translates roughly as "next to the waters") from the port city of Bordeaux, which serves as its logistical and administrative center. Summer daytime temperatures hover around 77F (25C), and rarely rise above 86F (30C), while winter brings sub-zero temperatures only occasionally. Even the latitude here (45°N) is moderate: exactly halfway between the equator and the North Pole. The Medoc peninsula feels the maritime influence particularly strongly; local winemakers talk of the gentle breezes and light clouds that take the edge off even the hottest summer days.

The region's long, relatively warm summers are ideal for growing late-ripening grape varieties. That is not to say that cool, wet weather in spring and autumn is not a concern here. A fundamental reason that most Bordeaux reds are made from a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon is that these two varieties bud, flower and ripen at different times and rates, which spreads the risk posed by poor weather conditions at flowering or harvest. In years when the autumn is wet, the Cabernet Sauvignon harvest suffers from rot and water-logging, but the earlier-ripening Merlot provides a back-up. When the spring is wet, the Merlot flowers poorly, leaving the Cabernet Sauvignon to take up the responsibility of providing a good harvest.

The vast expanse of pine forest to the south (La Foret des Landes) protects Bordeaux from strong, salt-bearing winds coming off the Atlantic Ocean, although there is a risk of still winter air getting trapped and bringing frost to the Bordelais vineyards. The region's proximity to large masses of water, such as the Atlantic Ocean, the Gironde Estuary and the Garonne and Dordogne rivers, helps to moderate climatic extremes.

Merlot is the dominant red wine grape in the vineyards of Bordeaux, followed closely by Cabernet Sauvignon and then Cabernet Franc. Petit Verdot, Malbec and even Carmenere are also permitted. When used in combination, these varieties are variously referred to as a "Bordeaux Blend". Bordeaux's white wines are generally blends of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle.

While Bordeaux is well regarded for wines produced within specific areas, many of its wines fall under other, far less ambitious appellations. These include Bordeaux, Bordeaux Supérieur and the sparkling-specific Crémant de Bordeaux. Bordeaux also has a distinct and historically significant classification system, which has remained largely unchanged since the middle of the 19th Century.

Few regions can rival Bordeaux in terms of its impact on the wine world. The few contenders include Burgundy, Champagne, Rioja, Chianti and the Napa Valley.

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Here are some wines produced in this region and all sub-regions, only the first 500 will be shown.
Wine Name
Grape 
Popularity
Domaines Barons de Rothschild Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac, France Bordeaux Blend Red $1,090 1
Baron Philippe de Rothschild Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac, France Bordeaux Blend Red $619 2
Chateau Margaux, Margaux, France Bordeaux Blend Red $701 3
Chateau Latour, Pauillac, France Cabernet Sauvignon - Merlot $832 4
Petrus, Pomerol, France Merlot $2,948 5
Chateau Haut-Brion, Pessac-Leognan, France Bordeaux Blend Red $617 7
Chateau d'Yquem, Sauternes, France Sauvignon Blanc - Semillon $535 8
Chateau Lynch-Bages, Pauillac, France Bordeaux Blend Red $174 10
Chateau Cheval Blanc, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, France Bordeaux Blend Red $687 11
Chateau Pontet-Canet, Pauillac, France Bordeaux Blend Red $135 13
Chateau Montrose, Saint-Estephe, France Bordeaux Blend Red $167 14
Chateau Cos d'Estournel, Saint-Estephe, France Bordeaux Blend Red $206 15
Chateau Leoville-Las Cases 'Grand Vin de Leoville du Marquis de Las Cases', Saint-Julien, France Bordeaux Blend Red $259 16
Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac, France Bordeaux Blend Red $184 17
Chateau Palmer, Margaux, France Bordeaux Blend Red $295 20
Chateau Leoville Barton, Saint-Julien, France Bordeaux Blend Red $117 22
Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou, Saint-Julien, France Cabernet Sauvignon - Merlot $196 23
Chateau Pichon-Longueville au Baron de Pichon-Longueville, Pauillac, France Bordeaux Blend Red $162 24
Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion, Pessac-Leognan, France Bordeaux Blend Red $482 26
Domaines Barons de Rothschild Chateau Lafite Rothschild 'Carruades de Lafite', Pauillac, France Bordeaux Blend Red $306 27
Chateau Angelus, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, France Bordeaux Blend Red $333 28
Chateau Pavie, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, France Bordeaux Blend Red $311 29
Domaines Barons de Rothschild Chateau Duhart-Milon, Pauillac, France Bordeaux Blend Red $121 30
Chateau Beychevelle, Saint-Julien, France Bordeaux Blend Red $114 31
Chateau Leoville Poyferre, Saint-Julien, France Bordeaux Blend Red $133 33
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