Located in the southwest part of France, Bordeaux is the most famous wine region on the planet. Bordeaux features seven major grape varietals: five reds and two whites. The red Bordeaux varietals are: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet France, Malbec and Petit Verdot. The white Bordeaux varietals are: Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. Bordeaux produces numerous styles of wine including sparkling wines, dry red and white wines and dessert wines.
While Bordeaux has numerous appellations and sub-appellations, there are a few that are widely regarded as the most important. Bordeaux appellations are traditionally categorized by their location in relation to the Gironde estuary. The three most important Right Bank appellations are: Pomerol, St. Emilion, and Lalande de Pomerol. The Left Bank appellations are St. Estephe, Pauillac, St. Julien, Margaux and Pessac Leognan-Graves. The famous dessert wine appellations are Sauternes and Barsac and are located in the southern part of Bordeaux. Left Bank wines tend to be dominated by Cabernet while Merlot dominates wines on the Right Bank. Most Bordeaux whites come from Pessac Leognan-Graves, and the reds from Pessac are mostly dominated by Cabernet, though the percentage of Merlot in Pessac wines Is generally higher.
Though wines from different regions of Bordeaux are made with different combinations of the same grapes, each region has its own taste profile that professional wine tasters call typicity. St. Estephe is known for its highly structured wines, while Pauillac is known not only for power, but classic, textbook flavors. Bordeaux from St. Julien always seems to have notes of espresso, and Margaux generally have the aroma of fresh cut flowers. Reds from Pessac Leognan-Graves seem to have a core of minerals that persists throughout the palate. Whites from Bordeaux tend to range in character from deeply honeyed, rich examples with aromas of stone, to crisp, clean Sauvignon Blanc dominated wines. The dessert wines in Bordeaux almost always come from the southern part of the region, most notably in the Sauternes and Barsac. These wines are some of the finest stickies in the world. Not only are these wines late harvest, they are also infected with noble rot, a rot that transforms these wines into honeyed, rich beauties that can age for twenty to thirty years.
"91pts. WA - The dense ruby/purple-colored 2011 Grand Puy Lacoste exhibits a charming, open-knit bouquet of red and black fruits. It is a savory, medium-bodied, flavorful, well-endowed Pauillac from Xavier Borie that can be enjoyed over the next 10-15+ years"
"92-95 pts - WA One of the stars of the vintage, it boasts a dense purple color as well as a big, sweet bouquet of red and black currants, graphite, subtle flowers and well integrated, toasty oak. Impressively built rich and medium to full bodied without losing the quintessential elegance and finesse for which this famous estate is renowned, the 2012 Domaine de Chevalier is filled with purity, equilibrium and balance. The tannins are sweet enough that this wine should be accessible when released, and will last for 15-20 years."
"A consistent winner in nearly every vintage, this dense ruby purple tinged 2005 reveals notions of toasty oak, roasted coffee, creme de cassis, spring flowers, licorice, and spice, and tastes like it came from a much more renowned terroir."
"90 pts. Robert Parker This well-known estate consistently performs at a high level, and proprietor Stephan von Neipperg's 2007 is a beauty. Cropped at 26 hectoliters per hectare, this blend of 55% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon possesses a dark ruby/purple color, a surprisingly full-bodied style with sweet notes of fruitcake, graphite, black cherry, black currant, and incense. Round, full-bodied, and opulent with well-integrated oak, it is a fleshy, full, exuberant wine that is ideal for drinking now and over the next decade. It achieved 13.5% natural alcohol."
"95 pts - WS. A terrific effort from bad boy and leading garagiste, Jean-Luc Thunevin, and his sidekick, Murielle Andraud, the inky/blue/purple-tinged 2005 Valandraud exhibits superb aromas of graphite, black currants, blackberries, violets, white chocolate, sweet licorice, and espresso roast. Boasting great intensity, full-bodied power, beautiful purity, and layers of complexity, this stunning wine should be unusually long-lived. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2025+."
"91pts. WA - Another excellent to outstanding effort from the Nony family, the 2011 Grand-Mayne offers up beautifully sweet raspberry and blueberry fruit intermixed with crushed rock-like notes as well as a jammy character (unusual in this vintage). Medium to full-bodied with a complete mouthfeel and sweet, but moderate tannins, this beauty can be enjoyed in several years or cellared for 12-15."
"92 Points- Wine Enthusiast. A wine with plenty of weight, fruit and balanced tannins. It shows a smoky character from the toasty wood, followed by broad berry fruits and sweetness. The ripe fruit flows naturally from the tannins, both offering aging potential."
"95 Points- Wine Enthusiast. The 2011 Clos Fourtet exhibits a dense blue/purple color as well as beautiful notes of creme de cassis, blueberries and raspberries, a complete as well as layered mid-palate, sweet tannin, good acidity and a charming personality. This is a highly successful effort for the vintage. Drink after 2018."
"91 pts Robert Parker 80% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon,10% Cabernet Franc. Dense purple color as well as a sweet perfume of creme de cassis, cherry liqueur, licorice, spice box. With full body, sweet tannin, admirable purity, and brilliant harmony, this full-bodied effort can be enjoyed over the next decade."
"Offers cherry and blueberry character on the nose and palate, with a medium body, slightly austere tannins and a rather hollow center palate. Should come together for a satisfying bottle. Best from 2012 through 2017"