The Wine Styles of the Bordeaux Wine Region
The Bordeaux region is renowned for producing some top-quality and expensive wines. However, the region is quite large, with over 9000 vineyards producing many types of Bordeaux wine. The vast majority of the Bordeaux wines are red, outnumbering white wine production by six to one.
The Bordeaux region is divided into various subregions. These sub-regions include Graves, Medoc, Saint-Emilion and Pomerol. The 60 appellations (smaller wine regions) within the Bordeaux region and their representative wine styles are generally categorized into six main families, with two white styles based on sweetness and four red styles based on a subregion.
Red Bordeaux or Red Bordeaux Superior – This is a popular style that represents nearly half of the wine produced in Bordeaux. The majority of chateaux are located on the right bank in the area of Entre-Deux-Mers, and as such are typically dominated by Merlot. The wine style produced in these appellations has a minimal oak influence and are generally meant to be drunk fairly young. In 2010, 55% of all Bordeaux wines sold around the world from Bordeaux or Bordeaux-Superior appellations. It has been calculated that the amount of wine produced in the region and sold represented 14 bottles being consumed every second!
Red Cotes de Bordeaux – there are eight appellations that produce Bordeaux wine in the hilly outskirts of the Bordeaux region. The blend is generally Merlot dominated. The wines produced in this style tend to be in the middle of a basic red Bordeaux and the more well-known appellations of the right and left bank in terms of quality. In 2007, nearly 15% of the vineyards in the Bordeaux region were used to produce wines in this style
Red Libourne (“Right Bank”) – there are 10 appellations centred around the city of Libourne. The wines here are dominated by Merlot with very little Cabernet Sauvignon used. The wines usually have a high concentration of fruit, softer tannins, and generally age quite well. The most famous appellations producing this style are Saint-Emillion and Pomerol. In 2007, 10.5% of the vineyards in the region were used to produce wines in this style.
Red Grave and Medoc (“Left Bank”) – this sub-region represents areas north and south of Bordeaux and produces wines that are dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon. They are generally tannic, long-lived and are meant to be cellared for a certain length of time prior to drinking. In 2007, 17.1% of the region’s vineyards were used for this style.
Dry white wines – dry whites are made throughout the Bordeaux region and called referred to as Bordeaux Blanc. The wines are heavily dominated by Sauvignon Blanc, sometimes with a wine being purely Sauvignon Blanc. The best wines tend to also have a large oak influence as well. The dry whites produced in Graves are the best known wines produced in this style. In 2007, 7.8 % of the vineyards in Bordeaux were used for this style.
Sweet white wines – this style of wine is produced in many appellations in the region and is made using Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle grapes that have also been affect by noble rot. The best known appellation producing this style is Sauternes, which produces some of the most famous sweet wines. In 2007, 3.2% of the vineyards in the region were used for this style.
Bordeaux wine styles are quite different and produce a wide variety of wines. By learning more about these wines, you can find a wine that suits your style and budget.