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Wine lovers make a big deal about Bordeaux – and rightly so. France’s Bordeaux wine region, considered the birthplace of wine culture, has been the world’s leading source of high-quality red wines for more than 200 years. With some 13,000 producers working approximately 300,000 acres of vines, no other wine region has so many wineries making so much excellent wine.

The variety of vines and soils throughout Bordeaux produce many wine styles. Three major red grape varieties prevail: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Petit Verdot and Malbec are also used in small amounts. Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon are Bordeaux’s primary white grapes.

The Keys to Bordeaux Video: The Keys to Bordeaux
Left Bank - Bordeaux
Bordeaux - Right Bank

Your own palate, of course, is the best judge of a wine’s quality.

Few have been able to resist the urge to quantify just how good Bordeaux is. The most important effort was the 1855 classification ordered by Napoleon III. Left-Bank wine brokers ranked wines according to a château’s reputation for quality and the wine’s trading price. The result was the Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855. Red wines that made the list all came from the Médoc region, with the exception of Château Haut-Brion from Graves, considered outstanding enough to be included. The wines were ranked descending from first to fifth growths, called “crus.” Only sweet whites from Sauternes and Barsac were included in the 1855 classification, ranked from first great growth to second growth.



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