Bordeaux Wine Region: Vineyards & Wineries
When the Bordeaux is mentioned, most people automatically think of wine (and rightfully so.) Bordeaux wines have earned worldwide reputations for being a little extra special. I prefer Bordeaux wines over wines from other regions because of the flavor that is embodied in each bottle.
Wine from Bordeaux earns its prestige from its rich flavor and beautiful coloring. By French law, any wine called that hails a regional name (such as Bordeaux,) must actually be produced in the region.
Luckily, with over 10,000 producers using grapes from over 13,000 growers in the Bordeaux region alone, there is no shortage of Bordeaux wine.
Within the Bordeaux region, there are many winemakers that offer wine tasting tours. If you plan on visiting these sub-regions, you'll want to check ahead of time so you can visit wineries and vineyards that offer wine-tasting tours.
Médoc Wine Region
The Médoc wine region is located in the northern part of Bordeaux. Médoc, located in the département of Gironde, is known for its full, fruity, red Bordeaux wines. It is divided into two parts with Haut-Médoc in the south and the northern part which is simply referred to as Médoc.
Some of my favorite Bordeaux wines come from the Médoc region. These wines include Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Blanc, and Merlot. If you’ve ever been in the Médoc region, you would also know that this region is famous for its wonderful Roquefort cheese.
Saint-Émilion is the oldest wine region of Bordeaux as vineyards were being planted here as early as the second century. This area is home to beautiful architecture and beautiful rolling land.
While Saint-Émilion is the oldest wine region in Bordeaux, it wasn’t officially added to the Bordeaux wine classification until 1955. Saint-Émilion is famous for its beautiful convent cloister as well as its delicately flavored Reblochon cheese.
Although Pomerol is the smallest wine region of Bordeaux, it's actually one of the most important. There aren’t many wine “big wigs” in the Pomerol region, but the wine from Pomerol is strong and full-bodied.
Wine-making in Pomerol is mainly a family business. While there are no formal rankings for wines here, the wine is no less worthy of its pricing and prestige.
Pomerol's wines are very high quality and thus sold at similar prices as other wines from Bordeaux. There are also many vineyards in the Pomerol area that offer winetasting which allows for an unforgettable experience.
Graves is also one of the oldest wine-making areas of Bordeaux. The Graves name hails from the large amount of gravel in the soil composition.
The gravel causes the grapes here to ripen more quickly than the grapes in other regions of Bordeaux. Why? You may be surprised that it's not actually the mineral in the soil that does this -- it's that the sun! The gravel reflects sunlight onto the underside of the grapevine allowing sunlight to the whole plant.
The quick ripening of the grapes makes for some fantastic wine which can be experienced by simply buying a bottle or by going wine tasting at one of the several wineries in this area. Graves is also famous throughout Bordeaux because it produces all three of Bordeaux's most famous wines.
Within the Graves region is the Sauternes sub-region which has to be mentioned. Sauternes is known for producing dry white wines and sweet white wines. This is a refreshing change from the massive amount of red wine produced in other areas of Bordeaux.
Sauternes wines are made from grapes with noble rot. Noble rot causes grapes to have a slight raisin effect which makes the wines of Sauternes very rich in flavor. Since there are many different soil types in Sauternes, each winery creates a distinct wine.
With the amazing popularity of wines from Bordeaux, it’s almost a sin to pass through Bordeaux without visiting a winery or at least picking up a bottle of wine at a shop.
For wine-lovers, a wine tour is almost required. Bordeaux is also famous for many gastronomic favorites such as Roquefort cheese, honey, and foie gras. The scenery of Bordeaux is unbeatable, too!
© 2009 Melanie Shebel