1. It’s Not All Red
Bordeaux is probably most famous for the incredibly expensive red wines that are made to age for a very long time, however this region is also home to significant plantings of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle – grapes used to make both dry whites and sweet dessert style wines. In fact, up until the 1970s, Bordeaux actually produced more white wine than red wine.
2. Blends Rule
When it comes to both whites (Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon & Muscadelle) and reds (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec) the overwhelming majority of wines made in Bordeaux are comprised of more than one grape variety. And while Bordeaux is widely recognized as a leading source of Cabernet Sauvignon based wines, it’s actually Merlot that comprises over 60% of red wine production.
3. UNESCO World Heritage Site
The City of Bordeaux itself was declared a World Heritage Site in 2007, a fitting tribute to a City showcasing beautiful Enlightenment era architecture, more than 350 historic monuments and dozens of important museums and art galleries.
4. 1855 Was A Great Year
The original “classification” system, introduced in 1855 served as an official ranking of the different Bordeaux wine producing properties of the Medoc. This system organized producers into 5 categories (or growths) based on the market prices of these various wines at the time. More than 150 years later, there have been very few changes to this ranking system which plays a large role in establishing the relative pricing of these iconic wines today.
5. Right vs Left
The defining paradigm amongst the red wines of Bordeaux tends to fall along two sides of the Gironde River – which meanders through this famous wine region. Wines grown on the “Right Bank” (around the City of Libourne) are made up mostly of Merlot, with very little Cabernet Sauvignon. Conversely, wines grown on the “Left Bank” of the Gironde (north of the City of Bordeaux itself) tend to include more Cabernet Sauvignon – and this portion of Bordeaux is home to 5 of the famous 1st Growth Chateaux.
6. France’s Largest AOC
Producing 900 million bottles of wine annually from approximately 250,000 acres of vineyard, Bordeaux is France’s largest appellation. While much of the attention and fanfare around Bordeaux wines is paid to the famous and iconic releases which sell for thousands of dollars per bottle, there is a great deal of delicious and very well-priced wine grown in Bordeaux.