Did you know that Bordeaux’s can be red or white, though it is normally associated with red wine. Bordeaux is always made from a blend of Cabernet sauvignon and Merlot wines, the proportion depending on where the winery is located. In fact, 90% of Bordeaux wines are red wines made with Cab and merlot.
Red Bordeaux are: Cab, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cab franc, and Malbec. White Bordeaux are: Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Muscadelle. The dominant favors of red: black current, cedar, plum, graphite, and cedar. The dominant white wine flavors are: lemon-lime, gooseberry, grapefruit, chamomile, and lemon curd. Good vintages are: 2015, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2005, 2003, 2000, 1998, and 1990.
From Vine Pair: The Gironde estuary cuts through the center of the region creating two banks: a left bank and a right bank. It is a winery’s location on either bank that determines the proportion of Merlot to Cabernet inside each wine. If the winery is located on the Left Bank, the blend created will have more Cabernet Sauvignon than Merlot. If the winery is instead located on the Right Bank of the river, the wine will have more Merlot in the blend than Cabernet Sauvignon. This determination also allows us to make a few generalizations about the wine depending on the bank on which it was created. Here are the general rules:
Left bank: blends tend to be higher in tannins, alcohol and acidity. They are powerful, rich wines that are said to age a bit better than wines from the Right Bank. This is also the bank that made the region famous.
Right bank: blends tend to be softer, less tannic and lower in alcohol and acidity. Because Merlot is the dominant grape, they are much more juicy and usually ready to be drunk much earlier than Left Bank Bordeauxs, and they’re often less expensive.
But why are Bordeaux wines so popular? As in all real estate, and places of business: LOCATION! The climate and soil are ideal for growing grapes. Bordeaux was also able to capitalize on its port city location, sending wine with wealthy merchants to distant locations.
So how much should one pay for a decent Bordeaux? A good one to drink now, from a smaller producer should run between $15 to $25. A Bordeaux from a top producer, one that can be aged runs upwards of $30 or more. Famous Chateau Margaux is one of five first growth wines estates here in Bordeaux. And some years ago, I had an exceptional Margaux from 1961, while on a golfing trip to Bandon, Oregon with an old friend, who happened to own some very expensive wines.