As the greatest fine wine producing region on earth, Bordeaux is synonymous with all that is prestigious in vinicultural history and practice. One cannot overestimate the influence its quality and traditions have had worldwide. It is, of course, home to legendary producers: Latour, Lafite-Rothschild, Mouton-Rothschild, Petrus, Chateau Margaux, Haut-Brion and Cheval Blanc as examples, all count among the more revered châteaux creating some of the greatest wines ever made - wines often commanding some of the greatest prices ever seen.
To simplify, the Bordeaux district is sub-divided by the grand riverbanks that define the Gironde estuary, the Left Bank, and the Right Bank. Owing to the predominance of quick-draining gravel in the former, cabernet sauvignon plantings are also predominant, whereas the Right Bank’s majority of limestone, sand, and clay account for a majority of merlot under vine. The tradition in Bordeaux is firmly one of blending varietals, and with these, other secondaries such as cabernet franc, petit verdot and malbec will typically be combined.
With their gaining complexities, both areas are broken down further into more local appellations according to the unique terroirs they express. The following sections, though brief, should give you a basic illustration of what to expect from these varying appellations and how to view this wine producing region as a whole.
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