Bordeaux wine region covers a vast area, approximately 300K acres of vines, making it the second largest wine region in the world behind the . ( Languedoc , in comparison, has only 45K acres of vines.) With 8.5K winemaking chateaux, Napa Valley Bordeaux is physically divided by the Gironde River and its tributaries, the Dordogne and Garonne, into the “Left Bank” and the “ Right Bank.” Both banks have sub-districts.
The Medoc, referred to as the
Left Bank, is the name used to denote the land located on the left side of the Gironde estuary. The Gironde, which empties into the Atlantic, exerts a powerful effect on grape growing. In the case of its Left Bank, the soil as well as the micro-climate are dramatically impacted by the Gironde.
Right Bank is composed of two small wine areas, St Emilion and Pomerol. Located on the right side of the Gironde, both of these districts are reigned by Merlot due to the clay soil. Cabernet Franc is also prevalent, especially in Pomerol. The climate and damper, cool soils of the Right Bank makes it difficult for Cabernet Sauvignon to fully ripen, hence, it is not used as often.
In contrast to the Left Bank’s large chateaux, the
Right Bank’s St Emilion and Pomerol is composed of small producers. Moreover, the Right Bank growing area is miniscule in comparison to the Medoc. Similar to the Medoc, however, there is little white wine vinified in either St Emilion or Pomerol.
Graves, located on the Left Bank of the
Garonne River, is directly south of the city of and encompasses the sub-regions of Pessac-Leognan as well as the sweet wine district of Sauternes. The area is known for its intensely gravel-like soil brought down via the Bordeaux Garonne by glaciers during the Ice Age. In fact, Graves in French translates to “gravel.” Both red and white wines are produced. Cabernet Sauvignon is the most prevalent red varietal. Whites allowed by law include Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle.
Entre Deux Mers, the least known of
Bordeaux’s wine regions, is named for its position between the Dordogne and (actually, the literal translation is “between the two seas.”). The soil is alluvial, washed down from millenniums of sediment from the Garonne Rivers Pyrenees and Central Massif mountains. One of ’s largest districts, it produces mainly whites (most of which are sweet wines) although red is also vinified. The area’s wine offers good value as prices are very fair and quality has been improving. Bordeaux
Coming on this Fall’s trip to
? We will visit all of the areas with the exception of the last, Entre Deux Mers. Additionally, Wine-Knows will be renting wine-making chateaux in the Bordeaux Medoc, St Emilion and Sauternes.