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Varietal of the Month: Bordeaux

Last Updated: May 24, 2024

Do you remember what varietal we’ve spoken about last? This prestigious Italian wine named Barolo.

This month we will focus on the French counterpart of the Barolo. It also begins by a “B” and it’s the Bordeaux.

One of the most famous vineyard all around the world, Bordeaux is also a big area with different features where can grow up various type of grape variety. Indeed, Bordeaux designation come from Gironde area in France, an area crossed by the Gironde river which “feed” many lands and offers a tremendous diversity of soils. We can define this river area in two distinct fields: Left side river and Right side river and give 6 producing area:

1) Médoc vineyard
2) Graves vineyard
3) Entre-Deux- Mers vineyard
4) Sauternais vineyard
5) Libournais vineyard
6) Blayais and Bourgeais vineyards

Thanks to this diversity, varied grape variety are planted in this area:

We found 3 main grape varieties for red wine:

Cabernet Sauvignon which is the late ripeness and represent 30% of Bordeaux vineyard and give colorful and tannic wine.

⦁ Merlot which is the most representative vineyard with 50% of the Bordeaux area and give supple wine.

⦁ Cabernet-Franc which represent 15% of the Bordeaux Vineyard and deliver fine and colorless wine.

In White grape variety we also found 3 main designations:

⦁ Sauvignon represent 21% of the white Bordeaux vineyard and give very aromatic and fresh wine

⦁ Sémillon which produce 60% of the Bordeaux vineyard with elegant and distinguished white wines.

⦁ Muscadelle is a delicate little grape variety which is used only for assemblage and give fine and delicate wines.

All these grape varieties grow up in a soft and wet oceanic climate, with Landes forest which protect Medoc, Graves and Sauternes vineyard from the wind coming from the Atlantic Ocean. The various rivers like the Gironde or the Dordogne reinforce also the protection against frosts.

We can found various soils thanks to this rich area:

⦁ Siliceous and gravel with clay sandy soils.

⦁ Brown limestone, Clay-limestone soils.

⦁ Clay and gravel, with erosion elements drop off by the streams.

Like for the Barolo, as a unique area, Bordeaux is also a designation of origin and you can only find Bordeaux in France.


Bordeaux facts:

⦁ The fineness of the Red Wine is best shown when served between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Poured at this temperature, the Bordeaux wines reveal many different features from their location of producing

⦁ Médoc: In this area you will find fine and distinguished wines, with plum, violet and graphite on the nose flavors and sweet and fruity mouth aromas.

⦁ Graves: The main characteristic of the Bordeaux wines coming from Graves area is the tastiness and the full bodied lightly less dense than the Médoc. On the mouth, we found ripe red fruit with flower notes and toasted bread.

⦁ Libournais: The famous St-Émilion wine come from this area, and the main flavors are the powerful and roundness alliance that give to these kind of wines an important aroma palette and full bodied in the mouth.

⦁ Blayais and Bourgeais: The main features of these wines are the tannic structure with a great balance and soft note of subtle red or black fruit like black currant and blackberry.

⦁ For the White Wine, its freshness and the flavors came, poured at 42 degrees Fahrenheit for sweet wine and 47 for dry wine.

⦁ Bordeaux area is well known for the diversity of grape varieties that you can find on its lands.

⦁ France is the only Bordeaux producer but the various grape varieties planted to make the different Bordeaux wines are also present in many countries all around the world like Italy, Australia, USA especially in California, Argentina or South Africa.

⦁ An important tip about the Bordeaux wine, they are long-keeping wine.

Bordeaux pairings:

The Red Bordeaux boldness of grippy tannins are smoothed and help all Red Bordeaux wine to paired with strong meals like game, lamb, duck or sauce beef as French tradition. You can also pair the Red Bordeaux wine with different cheese like, Basque Cheeses, Swiss Cheese, Comté or White Cheddar. You can also pair White Bordeaux wines with dessert as lemon tart, fruits crumble, which will reveal the smoothness and sweetness of the White wine and very well mixed with the flavor dessert.

Bordeaux wines are easily paired to many meals; thanks to the various type of wine the area provides. Red, White, Rosé or Sparkling you are sure to find the perfect bottle for your meal in Bordeaux area.

Must-try Bordeaux:

2015 Château Haut-Marbuzet – Saint-Estephe, Bordeaux, France ($48)Winemaker Notes: At the first view, we noticed deep red color. On the nose, we found a bunch of black fruit as blackberry and blackcurrant. Like for the nose note, in the mouth all the black fruits dominate the taste with character. The tannins soften by the black fruit give to this wine a rare elegance.


2016 Château Malartic-Lagraviere Rouge – Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux, France ($51)
Winemaker Notes: Deep cherry red that turns with purple reflection. On the nose, the perfume is generous and fruity, with different notes of red and black fruits like cherry, blackberry and blackcurrant with a fine note of cocoa. You can also find this generosity to the palate with mellowness texture and fruity aromas. The sophisticated tannins will finish the taste full in finesse. This wine is the perfect pairing for red or white meat like beef or turkey.


2016 Château Giscours – Margaux, Bordeaux, France ($57)
Winemaker Notes: From a deep red color with purple reflection, this wine provides a magic feeling on the nose with freshness and fruitiness with raspberry, blackberry, vanilla and pepper mint aromas. On the mouth, you will feel an incredible mix between juicy tannins and acidity. This wine accorded very well with red grilled meal without sauce, lamb or duck.


2014 Château Rieussec – Sauternes, Bordeaux, France ($93)
Winemaker Notes: For this white wine, we choose one of the best sweet white wine as the Château Rieussec from Sauternes. With beautiful gold and white peach color, the Sauternes follow its magnificent feeling with delicate white peach, acacia and orange aromas. On the mouth, we found full aromatic palette with candied fruits and honey. A perfect pairing for dessert or to substitute to liquor. This wine is a long keeping wine, with few years it will reveal flawlessness aromas.


2016 Château Smith Haut Lafitte – Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux, France ($100)
Winemaker Notes: The 2016 Château Smith Haut Laffite is an ode to Cabernet Sauvignon grape variety! With a beautiful dark red robe color and a very expressive nose notes thanks to the blueberry, blackcurrant, vanilla and licorice. On the palate, deeply distinguished tannins with a long black fruits finish will amazed you, and an intense note of the licorice freshness.
This awesome wine is to store to obtain the finest flavors.


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