The word Bordeaux itself says ‘wine’ to many around the world. Historians tell us that wine has been produced in st emilion city of the winethe Bordeaux area since the first century AD. And given the renowned capacity of the distinguished Bordeaux to age gracefully, one can believe it.
Located around the city of Bordeaux in the south west of France near the Atlantic, this region contains 284,000 acres of vineyards. It is home to thousands of Châteaux, the vineyards and other wine making facilities.
Winters here are short with a temperate climate and hot summers. Autumn is extended and humidity is high due to its location near the estuary of three rivers the Garonne, Dordogne and Gironde.
There are five distinct regions and 57 appellations. In France, the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC), refers to a specifically defined and regulated wine region, which controls how the wines may be produced, labeled and sold.
In a 50-mile strip between the Atlantic ocean and the Gironde estuary, the Medoc region grows vines on gravelly plateaus, called croupes, which lie atop heavy clay and limestone. Cabernet Sauvignon also finds a home here. Some wines created here contain up to 40 percent Merlot. Medoc’s 10,500 acres produces about 36 million bottles of wine annually from 400 vineyards.
With excellent for drainage which is very healthy for the vines, the Graves region gets its name from the pebbles in the soil. It located on 12,844 acres west of the Garonne River and produces a stellar garnet-colored red wine, with slightly more Merlot than Cabernet. The white wines produced here are dry, heavy on Semillon with a moderate amount of Sauvignon Blanc.
The best wines of the region are north of Graves, distinguished by the name Pessac-Leognan, with other Châteaux sometimes referred to as crus bourgeois.
South of Graves, the Sauternes (with the subset Barsac) region has a warmer, drier climate with soil rich in limestone. The whites Sauternes produced from Semillon are sweet, a quality derived from the infiltration of the fungus Botrytis cinerea.
Famous for their sweet, dessert wines such as Rieussec, Yquem, and Raymond-Lafon, over 4.5 million bottles are produced from 4,500 acres of vineyards.
Saint-Emillon, which lies east of the Gironde, is the oldest area in Bordeaux, where the grapes are primarily Merlot. The soil type here ranges from limestone gravel to sandy, both providing excellent drainage. The 13,000 acres focus mostly on high-quality red wines, at about 36 million bottles. That soil, and the devoted growing of its superior grapes produces the most robust, fast maturing reds.
Lastly, is Pomeral with only 1,900 acres producing rare but superior red wines from sandy soil atop a clay substrate infiltrated with iron. The vineyards grow a type of Cabernet Franc called bouchet as well as Merlot. Among other excellent wines produced here are the Château Pétrus, with 95% Merlot.
Many Bordeaux red wines have an aging potential of 5-15 years, with some reaching up to 20 to 50 years. But you will find it challenging to wait that long for one of these excellent wines!