Gironde estuary – meeting of the rivers Dordogne and Garonne
The Bordeaux wine growing region is separated by two rivers – the Dordogne and the the Garonne – which meet to form the Gironde river.
The Left Bank of Bordeaux is located southwest of the Gironde and the Garonne. The Left Bank is dominated by gravel soils which hold the sun’s heat and is perfectly adapted to Cabernet Sauvignon. Along with the dominant Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot is used to bring more roundness for the red wines. Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc are other grape varieties used but in a smaller proportion. For the white wines, Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon are mainly used while Muscadelle is used to a lesser proportion.
The Left Bank is divided into two regions: Médoc and Graves.
This region is located at the north of the Left Bank and contains two vast appellations – Médoc AOC (Northern Médoc) and Haut-Médoc AOC (Southern Médoc) – and 6 communal appellations among the most prestigious in the world:
– St-Estèphe: it is the most northern of the six Médoc communes and differentiates with higher percentages of Merlot. The wines tend to have more acidity.
– Pauillac: positioned at the centre of Médoc, it is a remarkable terroir with three Premiers Crus Classés (Lafite-Rotschild, Latour and Mouton-Rothschild). The wines are powerful and can age for 20-40 years
– St-Julien: located between Margaux and Pauillac, it combines the finesse of Margaux with the power of Pauillac
– Margaux: it is the southern communal AOC and the wines offer finesse and delicacy
– Moulis: located at the west part of the Médoc, the wines are suave
– Listrac-Médoc: located near Moulis, the wines are tannic and age-worthy
This region is located at the south of the Left Bank and contains the Graves AOC, and two communal appellations:
– Pessac-Léognan: located at the south of Bordeaux, the appellation produces both red and white wines. The red wines use a higher percentage of Merlot than the Médoc and have a complex bouquet. The dry white wines are aged on their lees and develop complex aromas with notes of nuts and honey
– Sauternes/Barsac: this appellation is known for its dessert wines produced from botrytized grapes. The bouquet is complex and elegant with aromas of honey, hazelnuts, apricots and peaches
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