Grape expectations ? a guide to Bordeaux wine

17th November, 2015
Home to a lively port city as well as numerous beautiful châteaux, Bordeaux is a vast and vibrant wine region with plenty of varieties on offer. The region is carpeted with scenic vineyards, where you can learn how some of the world?s most famous wines are produced and sample some of the glorious wines on offer. Bordeaux wines are special in that they are typically made from a blend of two or more grape varieties to create some striking and unique flavours, rather than a single grape.

Red wines

Today, the term claret in the UK applies to any red wine produced in Bordeaux. The typical grapes blended together to create claret are merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and sometimes Cabernet Franc. In smaller proportions, claret may also contain the flavours of Malbec, Carménère and Petit Verdot. To the left of the Garonne river is the Medoc region, where Cabernet Sauvignon grows better in the ground?s gravelly soils, while on the right side of the river, Merlot grapes thrive in the clay soils.

White wines

Though historically Bordeaux was more famous for white wine, today its iconic dry whites only make up 10% of its wine output. The region has two signature flavours ? elegant and rich or crisp and fruity, achieved by using different blends of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, though there may also be the addition of Muscadelle or Sauvignon gris grapes. A natural process on the vine known as noble rot helps to create some delicious dessert wines by dehydrating the grape. This boosts the sugar concentration in the grape, sweetening the wine.

Rose wines

The Bordeaux region also has a great selection of rose wines, made from red grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Though the juice runs clear, the pink blush from the skins gives the wine a wonderful burst of colour, helping to produce excellent wines such as Clairet. Now made only in limited quantities, Clairet is a very dark rose, with a refreshing and juicy flavour. If you?d love to sample some of these delicious and exciting wines in the heart of one of France?s most beautiful wine regions, visit our website to book one of our luxury villas in Bordeaux.  

Image: Michael Clarke, available under Creative Commons