Bordeaux

Appellations

It is a region on the other side of the Ciron from the even bigger and more famous Sauternes district. Wines produced within Barsac are also entitled to use the appellation Sauternes.

The wines are considered more elegant than those of Sauternes. Climens and Doisy-Daëne are some of the leading producers
A Red wine appellation in the Bordeaux region just west of the town of Libourne on the right bank of the river Dordogne. Owing to the region's altitude it was once a stragetgicall important site once
Blaye lies some 50 kilometres north of Bordeaux town on the right bank of the Gironde estuary. As well as wine production, Blaye is an established grain port and is home to an enormous nuclear power station, which boasts four reactors... The commune’s clay and limestone soils, combined with its unique micro climate, makes Blaye an ideal location for growing Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Colombard and Ugni. The wines tend to have a delicate and intense character – ideal as an aperitif or served with seafood.
The Cote de Bourg is located 20 km north of Bordeaux at the confluence of the Dordogne and the Garrone. Vines were first planted here in the 2nd century AD by the Romans and in the middle ages the proximity to both rivers allowed Bourg to flourish as a wine trading port. The wines have a reputation for being sturdy, rather common offerings, however, there are a few notable exceptions. Francois Mitjavile’s Roc de Cambes proves just how successful wines from this commune can be given a bit of love and attention.
These are Merlot based wines, sometimes with Cabernet Franc, that betray a fleshiness and sturdiness that can be drunk 1-5 years after the vintage. The region is named after the town of Castillon-la-Bataille, the battle that brought an end to the hundred years war.
The low hills of Fronsac and Canon-Fronsac,close to the Gironde estuary, have been producing good wine since the early 17th century, even by the beginning of the 19th century, the wines of Fronsac were much more famous than those of Pomerol on the other side of Libourne.
Fronsac and Canon-Fronsac appellations are concentrated on high limestone dominated land, with Merlot and Cabernet Franc dominating the plantations. After years of under achieving, the last twenty years have seen a resurgence and some great value can be found here. The wines are at the same time show the sweet and velvety side of the right bank whilst betraying a firmer more Médoc style structure
Grave AOC, is a vast region, spanning over 50 kilometres directly south of Bordeaux town. Its name originates from the gravelly soils deposited here in the last ice age, which impart much of the character associated with their mineral whites and sophisticated reds. Grave is the only Bordeaux region that produces quality reds, whites and sweet wines. The region encompasses many smaller communes such as Pessac Leognan, Sauternes and Barsac.
The Haut Medoc is a sub region of the Medoc, which covers some 4,643 hectares and incorporates communes such as St Estephe, Pauillac, St Julien and Margaux. Given the size of this appellation, there are a variety of different terroirs including clay, chalk and gravel. Most famous estates within the Haut Medoc defer to their more specific appellations, however, there are five classified growths that belong to the generic Haut Medoc AOC, The most famous being La Lagune and Cantemerle. Jean Gautreau’s Sociando Mallet is another noteworthy Haut Medoc estate.
The region produces Merlot-dominated wines which can offer great value similar in style to the wines of Pomerol but with less concentration. The soils are gravely and well-drained.
The wines tend to show more perfume and roundness than neighbour St-Julien, Pauillac, and St-Estèphe, whilst retaining a certain structure and concentration. Margaux is the most southerly and most extensive of the famous Médoc communes, a patchwork of vineyards with lesser parcels classed purely as Haut-Médoc. A myriad of soil mixtures can be found, clay, limestone, and gravel. Though quality is not always consistent here, the potential is great as more Margaux properties were included in the 1855 classification of the Médoc and Graves than any other appellation.

The two leading lights are the highly sought after Châteaux Margaux and Palmer, though there are several other solid performers including Brane-Cantenac, Rauzan-Ségla, Durfort-Vivens, Lascombes, Giscours, Ferrières, Malescot St Exupery and Luc Thienpont’s new boutique vineyard, Clos des Quatre Vents.
With the exception of Haut Brion, all the Chateaux listed in the 1855 classification are situated in the Medoc, however, as with the Haut Medoc, most of the grand names defer to their more specific appellations. This is a vast AOC with around 1500 different wine-making estates. There are many good AOC Medoc wines, which did belong to the now defunct Cru Bourgois classification. The most notable estate is Potensac, which is owned by Leoville Las Cases.
The Montagne de St Emilion lies directly opposite St Emilion. It benefits from almost identical weather conditions as one would expect from their proximity. In fact the two communes are just separated by a small stream called the Barbanne. The terroir is similar to that of St Emilion too. There are pockets of limestone and clay limestone, which produce rich, concentrated wines and there are lesser plots on sandy, gravelly soils, which make lighter, less tannic wines. Plantings are dominated by Merlot, with about 30% given to Cabernet Franc. Cabernet Sauvignon is difficult to ripen, so is reserved for only the warmest, best exposures.
Moulis is situated right in the heart of The Medoc, however, it rather lacks the prestige of more distinguished Medoc communes of Pauillac, St Julien and Margaux. The wines are dominated by Cabernet and Merlot, with a small area given to Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. In great vintages, these wines can offer exceptional value and great aging potential. Chasse Spleen and Poujeaux are two estates from this commune that have gained considerable notoriety.
The Cabernet Sauvignon domanates the appellation, in fact some might justifiably call Pauillac the most classical expression there is of Cabernet based Claret. It is sandwiched between St-Julien to the south and St-Estèphe to the north, a stone’s throw from the Gironde Estuary. The excellent drainage of the intensely gravely soils are the key to quality, producing some of the world’s most long-lived wines. The First Growths of Latour, Lafite and Mouton-Rothschild are found here, while other great Châteaux include Pichon Baron, Pichon Lalande, Pontet Canet, Lynch-Bages and Grand-Puy-Lacoste.
The region has one first growth, Château Haut-Brion, whilst other renowned Chateaux currently doing well are La Mission-Haut-Brion, Pape-Clément, Smith-Haut-Lafitte and Haut-Bailly. Soils are gravely and well-drained and the plantations are similar in proportion to those of the Médoc, consisting mostly of Cabernet Sauvignon with some Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The region is also well known for its long-lived whites that can be varying blends of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon oaked or unoaked. The most lauded are Domaine de Chevalier, Haut-Brion, Pape-Clement, De Fieuzal, and Laville-Haut-Brion.
Pomerol’s Merlot-dominated wines at their best are rich, seductive and silky. For hundreds of years Pomerol was considered as nothing but a satellite district of neighbouring St-Émilion to the east, and it was not really until not until the 1950s that Pomerol started its meteoric rise led by Château Petrus. By far the most dominant merchants in the region are Jean-Pierre Moueix who own or distribute the majority of the finest properties in Pomerol, the most renowned being Petrus.

Pomerol's finest wines originate from the highest parts of the plateau, which is predominantly gravel and clay, with an iron rich subsoil called crasse de fer.
Apparently as important in fashioning wines that are plump, voluptuous, and richly Merlot dominates plantings dramatically, though the notable exception is Vieux Château Certan, nearly half of their estate is devoted Cabernet Franc. Pomerol has no no official classification, but its small scale wines fetch some of the greatest prices for wine in the world. The regions greatest names are Pétrus, Lafleur, Certan de May, Hosanna, La Fleur de Gay, L'Église-Clinet, Le Pin, La Conseillante, Trotanoy, , L'Évangile, Latour-à-Pomerol, and Vieux-Ch-Certan
The Premier Cote is a long strip of land that runs south from Bordeaux town towards Cadillac. There is a varied terroir, including clay, limestone and gravel, so it is difficult to make generalisations about the wines. Indeed, although dominated by red varietals, there is still a considerable amount of Bordeaux Blanc and dessert wine produced. There are an ever increasing number of quality conscious estates springing up in this region, including the exceptional Chateau Reynon, made by the renowned oenologist Denis Dubourdieu.
Three grape varieties are planted: Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle. Sémillon is the principal grape, because it is especially susceptible to noble rot, Sauvignon is used for its naturally high acidity, whilst tiny proportions of the capricious Muscadelle are used for aromatic qualities. Sweet wine has been made here at least since the late 18th century. Its position is unique, close to two rivers, the broad Garonne and its small tributary, the Ciron. In autumn, the cool Ciron waters flow into the warmer tidal Garonne, evening mists develop that envelop the vineyards until late morning the following day, after the sun has burnt the mist away all that is left is moisture on trhe grapes that encourages noble rot or Botrytis cinerea. This fungus attacks grapes, causing them to shrivel, concentrating flavour sugars and acids. The wines were classified in 1855, the most prominent of which is Château Yquem, whose yields even in a vintage where noble rot is prominent, reach no more than 10 hl/ha.
St-Émilion is a very different region to those of the Médoc, dominated by small-holding farmers and estates rather than grand Châteaux. Merlot is widely planted as is Cabernet Franc in some parts. The wines are enormously variable in style depending on the terroir, the grape variety make-up and winemaking style. Loosely the region is divided between the limestone Côtes, Graves or gravelly limestone plateau or the sandy alluvial soils nearer the Dordogne. Traditionally Médoc wines were trade from Bordeaux and St Emilions from Libourne so they have their own classification system separate to that of 1855. The classification is revised every ten years and falls into four categories, St Emilion, St Emilion Grand Cru, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé and St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé
Most of the district's best properties are either on the steep, clay-limestone hillsides immediately below the town or on a gravelly section of the plateau west of St Emilion itself abutting Pomerol. There are several high profile estates in the region, including Cheval Blanc, Ausone, Figeac, Le Dôme, Valandraud and Pavie.
A part of St-Estèphe is separated from Pauillac's Lafite only by a stream.Though St-Estèphe contains some gravel, it is largely renowned for the high clay content of its soils compared with other vineyards on the left bank. These wetter cooler soils favour the Merlot, hence the relatively large proportion of plantings compared neighbouring communes, though Cabernet Sauvignon dominates. The cool soils means the grapes are later ripeing and tend to have high acidities, archetypal St Estèphe is a strong-willed, tannic structured wine to be laid down. The stars of St-Estèphe are Montrose, Cos d’Estournel and Calon-Segur, whilst Haut Marbuzet and Lafon Rochet have been producing excellent value wines over the last few years.
St-Julien may not have any first growths like its neighbour Pauillac but has a raft of high-performing Châteaux in its ranks, second through to fourth growths, Including Ducru-Beaucaillou, Léoville Las Cases, Léoville-Poyferré, Léoville-Barton.
Gruaud-Larose and Talbot. For many St-Julien is quintessential claret, robust, powerful but refined subtle and poised. Gravelly soils dominate, hence wide plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon with some Merlot.