The Bordeaux Wine region and its appellations
Bordeaux is the most famous wine region of France, being situated in the West of France with the city of Bordeaux at its heart. It is characterised by wines from the Left bank and right bank, separated by the Garonne river. The maritime climate means subdued winters and long warm summers, perfect conditions for growing grapes and the region is very large with 120,000ha of vineyards (four times the size of Burgundy) and includes over 10,000 wine producers.
From 1875–1892 almost all Bordeaux vineyards were destroyed by Phylloxera infestations and the wine industry was rescued by grafting native vines on to pest-resistant American rootstock.
Left Bank and Right Bank of the Bordeaux Wine Region
The "left bank" of the Bordeaux wine region spans from the area called Médoc to the north of the city of Bordeaux and Graves to the south of Bordeaux, the right bank is separated from the city. The most important areas are Haut-Médoc (southern part of Médoc) and Pessac-Leognan at the north tip of the Graves. The latter produces the best white wines in Bordeaux.
The most important area on the "right bank" is Libournais, named after the historic town of Libourne (the best appellations within it are Saint-Émilion and Pomerol):
- Saint-Émilion AOC, Montagne-Saint-Émilion AOC, Saint-Georges-Saint-Émilion AOC, Lussac-Saint-Émilion AOC, Puisseguin-Saint-Émilion AOC, Pomerol AOC, Lalande-de-Pomerol AOC, Fronsac AOC, Canon-Fronsac AOC, Côtes-de-Castillon AOC (now merged into Côtes-de-Bordeaux AOC), Premières-Côtes-de-Franc AOC (now merged into Côtes-de-Bordeaux AOC)
The "Left Bank", comprising the wine regions of the Médoc, Pessac-Léognan and Graves are planted predominantly with Cabernet Sauvignon, which does well on the gravelly soils. It is blended with Merlot, Cabernet Franc and sometimes Petit Verdot. The highlights of the Médoc are the four communes of St Estèphe (blackcurrant concentration); classical, cedar wood and cigar-box Pauillac; rich and fruity St Julien and elegant, fragrant Margaux.
On the "Right Bank", most famously in St- Émilion and Pomerol, the Merlot grape dominates, sometimes with cabernet franc. The soils are more mixed, with gravel and clay. Styles vary more in St-Emilion, depending on the predominance of sand in the lower lying slopes, or limestone on the hillsides and plateau.
What is claret?
Nearly 90% of Bordeaux wine is red, and has in the past been called "claret". This name was used to differentiate the lighter coloured wines of the coastal region from the deeper wines from inland regions.
Before “claret” was the nickname for Bordeaux wines, it meant “clear,” “pale” or “light-coloured” wine (“claret” being derived from the Latin word for “clear”). The first references to “claret” as dark red Bordeaux wines were in the 18th century by the British.
The word claret is now is used as a generic term to refer to Bordeaux wines or Bordeaux style blends from elsewhere and the associated dark red colour.
By the 18th century, individual properties, known as châteaux, were becoming known for the quality of their wines and in 1855, those of the Médoc (plus Haut Brion, a property commended by Samuel Pepys as early as 1663) were classified into five levels of classed growths. Lafite, Latour, Margaux and Haut Brion were cited as First Growths, to whose ranks Mouton Rothschild was elevated by presidential decree in 1973. Beneath the growths there are numerous châteaux known as Crus Bourgeois and less well known "petits châteaux" which produce wines at more affordable prices.
Bordeaux sweet wines
The other distinctive style of Bordeaux wine is sweet dessert, especially from the district of Sauternes, making some of the most outstanding sweet white wines in the world (from the likes of Châteaux d'Yquem, Rieussec and Climens). The foggy autumn mornings along the banks of the Garonne River near Sauternes and neighbouring Barsac enable the noble rot, botrytis cinerea, to form on the skins of the grapes, which can still ripen in the afternoon sun as late as the end of October or early November.The Sémillon grape is predominantly used but Sauvignon Blanc and a Muscadelle are also planted.
There are many inexpensive dry white wines, predominatly Sauvignon rayher than Sémillon from regions such as Entre Deux Mers and the Graves, with just a handful of outstanding properties located in Pessac-Léognan. Most famous of the great dry whites are Châteaux Haut Brion, Laville Haut Brion and Domaine de Chevalier.
The En Primeur System
The best and most highly priced wines of Bordeaux are sold "en primeur" in the late spring following the harvest, 18 months to two years before the wines are ready for shipment. The top Châteaux offer their wines through a system of Bordeaux négociants (brokers) who sell on to importers round the world.
Merchants and trade organisations will taste barrel samples of wine that is often only 6–8 months old. In the case of Bordeaux, where the final wine is often a blend of several grape varieties, the winemaker will try to craft an approximate blend to sample. The composition of the final wine may differ from the sample depending on how each barrel matures during the aging process. Based on the initial sample, the wines will be giving a preliminary "score" or wine rating based on the expected quality of the wine once it is bottled, released and has had time to mature.
An en primeur wine gives the owner the right to receive the respective bottles of wines once the producer has completed the maturing phase of the wine. Wine bought en primeur is often directly placed into custom-free storage holding, 'in bond' free from VAT and other taxes until it is released for eventual sale.
Bordeaux AOCs Appellation d'origine contrôlée
There are 57 AOCs (Appellation d'origine contrôlée) in Bordeaux, which can be broadly grouped into seven categories
- Médoc, Red Graves & Pessac-Léognan
- Saint-Emilion, Pomerol & Fronsac
- Red wines from the Côtes
- Bordeaux & Bordeaux Supérieur
- Dry White Wines
- Sweet White Wines
The Médoc appellations are:
- Médoc AOC, Haut-Médoc AOC, Saint-Estèphe AOC, Pauillac AOC, Saint-Julien AOC, Listrac-Médoc AOC, Moulis-en-Médoc AOC, Margaux AOC
The Saint-Emilion, Pomerol & Fronsac appelations are:
- Saint-Émilion, Montagne-Saint-Émilion, Saint-Georges-Saint-Émilion, Lussac-St. Emilion, Puisseguin St. Emilion, Lalande de Pomerol, Fronsac
Red Bordeaux & Bordeaux Supérieur AOCs are classified simply into these groups.
The Red wines from the Côtes appellations are:
- Premières Côtes de Blaye, Côtes de Bourg, Premières Côtes de Bordeaux, Côtes de Castillon, Graves-de-Vayres, Côtes de Francs
Bordeaux Dry White wines appellations are:
- Bordeaux Blanc, Entre-Deux-Mers, Graves, Crémant de Bordeaux, Pessac-Léognan, Premières Côtes de Blaye, Blaye, Graves-de-Vayres, Côtes de Bourg, Côtes de Blaye, Côtes des Francs
Bordeaux Sweet wine appellations are:
- Sauternes, Sainte-Croix-du-Mont, Loupiac, Barsac, Cadillac, Cérons
Bordeaux wine blends
The majority of Bordeaux is blended with six red grapes and six white grapes being allowed by the various appellations in the region. The main red grapes are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. White wine is generally based on Sauvignon blanc or Semilon.
Cabernet Sauvignon dominates the blend in the Médoc, elsewhere it tends to be Merlot, whilst three quarters of the production of the right bank is Merlot. The top Château's tend to have the highest proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon in their blends.
Classification of Bordeaux wine and the Growth hierarchy
The 1855 Exposition Universelle de Paris resulted in the unique classification system for Bordeaux known the "Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855", a list of the top ranked wines, named the Grand Crus Classés (Great Classified Growths). The system set out the most prized and hence most expensive Château of the Bordeaux area.
Within the Grand Cru Classé list, wines were further ranked and placed in one of five divisions. Those considered to be best wines were assigned the highest rank of Premier Cru or "first growth wines". Four wines were chosen - Château Latour, Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Margaux and Château Haut-Brion. Of all the 61 great classified wines, 60 came from the Médoc region, with one being the premier cru Château Haut-Brion, produced in Graves.
The 1855 list remained unchanged until 1973 when Mouton Rothschild was promoted to Premier Cru status and in 1988 Château Haut-Brion was changed in appellation from Graves to Pessac-Leognan due to the urbanisation of areas surrounding Bordeaux.
Premier Grand Cru Bordeaux:
Château Lafite Rothschild Médoc (Pauillac)
Château Margaux Médoc (Margaux)
Château Latour Médoc (Pauillac)
Château Haut-Brion Pessac-Leognan
Château Mouton-Rothschild Médoc (Pauillac)
Rating of recent Bordeaux Vintages
Bordeaux's best recent vintages have been 2000, 2005, 2009 and 2010. So called "vintages of the century".
- 2014: Exceptionally cool and wet July and August put this year's Bordeaux to be on track to be the worst since the poor 1992 vintage. But fortunately for winemakers, the 2014 vintage was saved by an unusually dry, warm September and October that (just about) ripened the grapes though autumn concentration resulted in relatively high-acid wines. Good sunshine in early June ensured good flowering and September was the hottest month since 1961 and the sunshine persisted until late October. Reds have fragrance, medium body and supple tannins but there is still debate about long term cellaring of this vintage with its fresh acidity and tannic structure. Stick to the leading producers with the best terroirs given the tricky conditions. Poorer wines exhibit excess acidity and are on the thin side or are too dry, over oaked or over extracted. The left bank wineries produced more consistent product than the right with cabernet sauvignon wines benefitting from the hot September more than Merlot dominated and with more rain in the likes of St-Emilion than the Medoc. The cool summer meant that whites had good fresh acidity. In summary 2014 was a good vintage but not a great one (similar to 2001, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2012).
- 2013: A universally poor vintage, beset by uneven ripening and dilution. Rot forced relatively early picking. Even at their best, the wines are pretty light – though perhaps a benefit of this is lower alcohol levels, as compared with some of the 15% bruisers of recent years. The best of a bad lot can be found in Pomerol, St-Julien and St-Estèphe.
- 2012: Difficult across many European wine regions, and none more so than Bordeaux. Generally speaking, it was a wet, late year with a hot mid-summer. Bad weather in October compromised quality at the crucial moment, meaning that the earlier-ripening Merlot-based reds were less adversely affected. Making good Cabernet-based wine was achievable, but only by those who had the resources for micro-management in the vineyard. Top properties made small quantities of outstanding wines but most have a lack of depth and persistence.
- 2011: Generalisations are difficult in this variable year, but there is agreement that quality was back down to earth after the excitement of 2009 and 2010, with lower alcohol and generally higher tannins too. A forgettable year.
- 2010: Another stellar vintage, with higher tannin and more freshness than 2009 but comparable intensity. More appealing to classical palates.
- 2009: 'Vintage of the decade/century'? This growing season seemed to have it all. A long, fine, warm summer but, crucially, with refreshing nights to help retain acidity. Dramatically ripe, voluptuous wines, especially on the left bank.
- 2008: Another ungenerous summer saved by some better weather at the end of the season. Yet again, those properties at the top of the tree managed to field enough good fruit to salvage some pretty impressive grand vin but life was increasingly tough lower down the food chain.
- 2007: An extremely difficult year for growers, with rampant mildew, not enough sun, too much rain until September. Thanks to an arsenal of modern techniques, not least rigorous selection, those who could afford it managed to make attractive wines for relatively early drinking but high prices left the primeur market as flat as a pancake.
- 2006: This stop-start vintage suffered inevitably by comparison with 2005, although it produced some well-made wines which looked even better in comparison with the 2007s. Drought and high temperatures were the dominant characteristics until the end of July but August was unusually cool and wet and harvest was interrupted by rain. Pauillac and Pomerol seemed to perform best in a year that can taste pretty crisp.
- 2005: Textbook perfection in all respects other than price. Best kept for many a year. Quite marked tannins.
High quality Bordeaux Producers
Château Laroque St Emilion GCC (grand cru classé)
Located on the hill tops surrounding St Christophe des Bardes northeast of Saint Emilion, Laroque is the largest estate in the appelation. The vineyards were first laid out in the 18th century by the Marquis de Rochefort-Lavie and the estate remained in the same ownership until 1935 when the great depression took hold. At this point it was bought by the Beaumartin family and it has remained under this ownership until the present day.
The vineyard consists of 61ha all on contiguous plots which is unique in St-Emilion, with 27ha being used for Laroque whilst the remainder is sold as Château Peymouton or the estate's second wine Les Tours de Laroque.
Until 1996's reclassification of St-Emilion, the whole vineyard was Grand Cru, with the 27ha Laroque being grand cru classé. Although well known due its history, Laroque, remained in the middle tier of the appellation until Xavier Beaumartin took over as owner in 2004.
The estate's blend is predominately Merlot based and the wine is aged in oak barrels for 12 months. In the best years it is packed with ripe and plummy fruit supported by a framework of supple tannins and balanced acidity.
Château La Pointe Pomerol
Château La Pointe with 23ha is tjhe fourth largest estate in Pomerol after Nenin, Gazin and La Sales and is regarded as a reliable, middle of the road Pomerol that can trace its roots back to 1845.
It was originally owned by the Chaperon family who was responsible for building the elegant Directoire-style château. In the 1868 edition of Charles Cocks' Bordeaux et ses vins, Edouard Féret lists La Pointe as among the finest growths in Pomerol and goes on to say that the wines "are noteworthy for their finesse, bouquet and beautiful colour." The property has been owned by the d'Arfeuille family since 1941 and has been owned and managed by Stéphane d'Arfeuille since 1975. In 2007 the estate was sold to the Generali France Insurance Company and is now under the stewardship of Eric Monneret.
The property is located in the south-western part of the Pomerol appellation. Its vineyards are situated close to the village of Catusseau on the outskirts of Libourne. It consists of 21 hectares of vineyards planted with 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc. The grapes are fermented in temperature-controlled, stainless steel vats and the wine is matured in small oak barriques (33% new) for 15-18 months.The soil is sandy gravel with a little clay but without the iron found elsewhere in the appellation.
The wines produced are of consistent quality and good value for Bordeaux.
Château de La Dauphine, Fronsac
The appellations of Fronsac and Canon-Fronsac historically had a strong reputation prior to the arrival of phylloxera in the late 19th century. They may have been surpassed in recent years by the likes of St-Emilion but they still produce consistent and desirable wines with robust elegance.
The Château La Dauphine's estate dates back to 1670. In 1709 it was sold to Jean Olivier, a financial advisor to Louis XIV and has remained in the Olivier family for over 300 years. In the 1960's the De Brem family took over the estate who owned the Canon De Brem in Canon-Fronsac regularly producing excellent wines in both appellations. In 1985, La Dauphine was sold to Christian Moueix of Ets J-P Moueix and then to Jean Halley in 2000 the present owner.
La Dauphine's acreage covers 40 hectares with a southerly exposure with clay-silty sand on the bottom of the vineyard, limestone and clay in the middle and limestone on the plateau with the production now entirely organic.
Château de Lamarque, Haut-Médoc
Lamarque's estate has been around since the 15th century with the castle overlooking the Gironde Estuary having its origins in the 11th century being subject to attacks by the English during the 100 years war. In 1839 the estate passed into the control of the Comte de Fumel, former owner of Margaux.
With 38 hectares the Château de Lamarque's main vineyards are close to Moulis, with Poujeaux, Chasse-Spleen and Maucaillou as neighbours, with another plot opposite Malescasse to the South on the way to Alcins.
Château Biac, Cadillac, Côtes de Bordeaux
Château Biac's estate lies above the River Garonne with vines being planted since the 14th century. The Château was sold to the Bassal family in the early 19th century and under their tenure it was named first growth of the now defunct Langoiran appellation. The Bassal's sold out in the 1950's and after changing hands three times it came to the Asseily family in 2006.
The vineyard is small at 9 hectares but has exceptional exposure to sun with the highest elevation on the right bank of the River Garonne. The shell shape of the vineyard channels cooling winds from the river helping to prevent over ripening in the summer and curtailing the impact of frost in the cooler months.
The soil on the estate is a mixture of pure gravel to pure clay on a chalky/limestone base.
Château de Cérons, Cérons
Château de Cérons has a striking 17th century building in the Bordeaux Chartreuse style and it is located just north of Barsac on the River Garonne. It was awarded its own appellation in 1936 covering the villages of Podensac and Illats in addition to Cérons itself.
The current owners are the Perromat family and the winery is notable for its sweet wines with the microclimate of the nearby Ciron River allowing the development of botrytis cinerea (noble rot) as in the Sauternes area.
Notable Bordeaux Wines and Vintages
Château Angelus 2000 Premier Grand Cru , St-Emilion, merlot 50% Cabernet Franc 50%
Château Angélus, until 1990 known as Château L'Angélus, or simply L'Angélus, is from the appellation Saint-Émilion, since 2012 ranked Premier grand cru classé (A) in the Classification of Saint-Émilion wine. The winery is located on the Right Bank of the Bordeaux wine region, in the commune of Saint-Émilion in the department Gironde.
Château Ausone 2003, St- Emilion, cab franc 55% merlot 45%, also 1998, 2000, 2001, 2005
Château Ausone is from the Saint-Émilion appellation, one of only four wines, along with Château Angélus, Château Cheval Blanc and Château Pavie to be ranked Premier Grand Cru Classé (A) in the Classification of Saint-Émilion wine. The winery is located on the Right Bank of France’s Bordeaux wine region in the Gironde department, close to the town of Saint-Émilion. The winery also produces a second wine named Chapelle d'Ausone.
Château Beau-Sejour Becot 2002 Premier Grand Cru, St-Emilion, merlot 70% cabernet franc 24% Cabernet Sauvignon 6%, also 2000, 2001, 2003
Château Beau-Séjour Bécot, formerly Château Beauséjour-Dr-Fagouet, is a Bordeaux wine from the appellation Saint-Émilion, ranked Premier grand cru classé B in the Classification of Saint-Émilion wine. The winery is located in the Right Bank of France’s Bordeaux wine region in the commune of Saint-Émilion, in the department Gironde. The estate also produces the second wine Tournelle de Beau-Séjour Bécot, as well as the "Vin de garage", La Gomerie.
Château Beausejour Duffau-Lagarrosse 1990, St-Emilion, merlot 60%, Cabernet franc 25%, Cabernet Sauvignon 15%
Château Beauséjour, formerly fully titled Château Beauséjour-Duffau-Lagarrosse, is a Bordeaux wine from the appellation Saint-Émilion, ranked Premier grand cru classé B in the Classification of Saint-Émilion wine. The winery is located in the Right Bank of France’s Bordeaux wine region in the commune of Saint-Émilion, in the department Gironde. The estate also produces the second wine Croix de Beauséjour.
Château Belair, 1995, St-Emilion, merlot 80% cabernet franc 20% (Premier grand cru classé B). Note: Château Bélair-Monange, named until 2007 Château Belair
Château Bélair-Monange, named until 2007 Château Belair, is a Bordeaux wine producer from the appellation Saint-Émilion, ranked Premier grand cru classé B in the Classification of Saint-Émilion wine. The winery is located in the Right Bank of France’s Bordeaux wine region in the commune of Saint-Émilion, in the department Gironde. The estate was considered a leading producer of Saint-Émilion for most of the 19th century.
Château Berliquet 2001, St-Emilion, merlot 75% Cabernet Franc 20%, Cabernet Sauvignon 5%
Grand Cru Classé Saint-Emilion Bordeaux, right bank Appellation.
Château Branaire-Ducru, 2005, St Julien, Cabernet Sauvignon 70%, merlot 22%, others 8%
Château Branaire-Ducru is situated on the opposite side of the road from Château Beychevelle in the south of the St-Julien appellation. Patrick Maroteaux has owned the property since 1988. The proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend is even higher than that in the vineyards - 80-85% in most years, which is one of the highest in the Médoc. Branaire-Ducru is classified as a 4ème Cru Classé.
Château Brane-Cantenac 2000, Margaux, Merlot 55%, Cabernet Sauv 42%, Cabernet Franc 3%
A second growth from Margaux in the in Médoc.
Château Brown 2004, Pessac-Leognan, Cabernet Sauvignon 55%, merlot 43%, Petit Verdot 2%
A third growth Margaux.
Château Calon-Segur 2003, St Estephe, Cabernet Sauvignon 60% merlot 40%
Château Calon-Ségur is the most northerly of all the Médoc Grand-Crus Classé. The former owner, Marquis de Ségur, though he owned such Estates as Lafite and Latour, he declared "My heart belongs to Calon". For the last century it has been owned by the Gasqueton family.
Calon-Ségur's 74-hectare vineyard, which is partly enclosed by a wall, is located just to the north of the village of St-Estèphe. The vineyards (Cabernet Sauvignon 65%, Merlot 20%, Cabernet Franc 15%) lie on up to 5 metre deep gravel beds mixed with sand and, in parts, limestone and clay. Calon-Ségur has hit form with notable successes in 1995 and 1996 and 2000. At its best, Calon-Ségur produces meaty and concentrated wines displaying excellent depth of fruit and superb length. It is classified as a 3ème Cru Classé.
Château Canon, 2000, St-Emilion, merlot 75%, Cabernet Franc 25%
Château canon-la-gaffeliere 2005, st emilion, merlot 55%, c franc 40% c sauv 5%
Château Canon-la-Gaffelière is from the appellation Saint-Émilion, ranked Premier Grand cru classé in the Classification of Saint-Émilion wine. The winery is located in the Right Bank of France’s Bordeaux wine region. The estate also produces the second wine Côte Mignon La Gaffelière, and is closely involved with the production of the "Vin de garage" La Mondotte.
Château Cheval Blanc 1998, st emilion, merlot 55%, Cabernet franc 45%
Château Cheval Blanc is located in Saint-Emilion in the immediate vicinity of Pomerol . Apart from Château Ausone is the only winery in the appellation Saint Emilion with the highest classification Premier Grand Cru Classé A.
Château Cheval Blanc is owned by the family Arnault and Frère . In 1998 the family acquired via the Investment Company Raspail Investissement the estate.
Château Cos d'estournel, Saint-Estèphe , 2002, Cabernet Sauvignon 58%, merlot 38%, others 4%
Château Cos d'Estournel is in the Saint-Estèphe appellation of the Bordeaux region of France. The wine produced here was classified as one of fifteen Deuxièmes Crus (Second Growths) in the original Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855. Château Cos d'Estournel produces the eponymous grand vin, the second wine since the 1994 vintage, Les Pagodes de Cos from the estate's younger vines, as well as Château Marbuzet from fruit of nearby plots. The property is adjacent to Château Lafite-Rothschild in the neighboring commune of Pauillac.
Château D'angludet 2001, Margaux, Cabernet sauvignon, merlot, petit Verdot ****
Château d`Angludet is a Cru Bourgeois property that now regularly produces wines of grand cru classé quality. D'Angludet is located in the Margaux appellation and its vineyards are situated at the 3-way intersection of the Cantenac, Arsac and Labarde communes.
The late Peter Sichel purchased d'Angludet in 1961 and it became his home for the next 37 years. D'Angludet's 32 hectares of vineyards are planted with Cabernet Sauvignon (58%), Merlot (35%), Cabernet Franc (5%) and Petit Verdot (2%).
Château de Pez, 2001, Saint-Estèphe , Cabernet Sauvignon 45%, merlot 44%, others 11%
Château Les Ormes-de-Pez, or Château Ormes de Pez, (French for The Elms of Pez) is a winery in the Saint-Estèphe appellation of the Bordeaux wine region of France, near the hamlet of Pez. The wine produced here was classified as one of 9 Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnels in the 2003 listing. Though this classification is currently annulled, it is expected to be revived by the 2009 vintage, but without use of the quality divisions such as "exceptionnel".
Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, St Julien, cabernet Sauvignon 65%, merlot 25%, c. Franc 10% 2000
Château Ducru-Beaucaillou is a winery in the Saint-Julien appellation of the Bordeaux region of France. Its wines were classified as one of fifteen Deuxièmes Crus (Second Growths) in the original Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855.
Château Durfort-Vivens, Margaux, Cabernet Sauvignon 65%, Merlot 23%, Cabernet Franc 12% 2004***
Château Durfort-Vivens is a winery in the Margaux appellation of the Bordeaux region of France. The wine produced here was classified as one of fifteen Deuxièmes Crus (Second Growths) in the original Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855. While the 1855 classification is still legally in effect, more modern classifications have been performed to reconcile changes over time. In The Liv-ex Bordeaux Classification, in which quality of Bordeaux red wine is determined by demand in terms of price, Château Durfort-Vivens is listed as a Fifth Growth.
Château Falfas, Le chevalier, Côtes de Bourg, Merlot 55%, Cabernet Sauvignon 30%, others 15% 2000
The Cotes de Bourg region just across the river from the Medoc, nearly directly across the water from Margaux is home to some good and reasonably priced Bordeaux wines. The Château Falfas estate takes its name from the head of a local parliament back in the late 1600s. Today it's owned by Veronique Cochranand the Falfas vineyards have been farmed biodynamically since 1988.
The 20 hectare estate is planted with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and a small amount of Malbec. Their key wine is called "Le Chevalier", translated as the Knight.
Château Figeac, St-Emilion, 2001, Cabernet Franc 35%, c sauv 35%, merlot 30%
Château Figeac is one of the leading St. Emilion estates and its wine, with its high Cabernet content, has often been described as the most Médoc-like in St-Emilionand is classified as a 1er Grand Cru Classé (B).
Since 2010 Figeac has been managed by Comte Eric d’Aramon and his wife Laure. It is located in the north-west of the appellation with its vineyards adjoining those of Cheval Blanc. Its 40 hectares of vineyards (Cabernet Sauvignon 35%, Merlot 30%, Cabernet Franc 35%) lie on a deep, Médoc-like gravel topsoil ('Graves') over a flinty, iron-rich subsoil.
Château Fourcas-Hosten, Listrac, Merlot 45%, Cabernet Sauvignon 45 %, Cabernet Franc 10% 2005
Château Fourcas-Hosten is located in the small village of Listrac. Since 2006 it is owned by brothers Renaud and Laurent Momméja. Currently, 36ha of vineyards are in production on 47ha that make up the property. New plantations are already scheduled, step by step, until 2018.
The estate consists of 45% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc. In their youth, the wines of Château Fourcas Hosten have volume and a beautiful structure. With time power and elegance develop.
Château Gazin, Pomerol, 2004, merlot 90%, Cabernet Sauvignon 17 %, Cabernet franc 3% ***. Located next to Petrus.
Château Gazin is located on the Right Bank of the Bordeaux wine region, in the commune of Pomerol in the department Gironde adjacent to the renowned Petrus. As all wine produced in this appellation, Château Gazin is unclassified, but the estate has since the 1840s been estimated among the great growths of Pomerol. The château also produces a second wine named l'Hospitalet de Gazin.
Château Giscours, Margaux, 1970, Cabernet Sauvugnon 53%, merlot 42%, others 5 %
Château Giscours is a winery in the Margaux appellation of the Bordeaux region of France, in the commune of Labarde. The wine produced here was classified as one of fourteen Troisièmes Crus (Third Growths) in the Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855.
Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, 2000, Pauillac, Cabernet Sauvignon 70%, Merlot 25%, Cabernet franc 5% *** also 1990, 1995, 1996, 2005
Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste is located inPauillac, Bordeaux and is a 5ème Grand Cru Classé. The name Grand-Puy, already mentioned in documents from the Middle Ages, comes from the ancient term "puy” which means "hillock, small height”. True to its name, the vineyard sits on outcrops with a terroir similar to that of the Médoc's first growths. From Since the 16th century the property remained attached to a single family from generation to generation, in a direct line through marriage until 1920, before connecting with another family in 1978—the Borie.
Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste 2000 is the perfect chance to taste a great Bordeaux vintage without the price premium of more expensive left bank growths with the present owner François-Xavier Borie doing great things with this 5th growth Pauillac château and their wines carry a hint of crème de cassis, which is the château's trademark characteristic in top vintages.
Château Gruaud-Larose, St Julien, 2005, Cabernet Sauvignon 57%, merlot 31%, others 12% *** (1982, 2009)
Château Gruaud-Larose based in the St. Julien appellation has a reputation for lack of consistency and for Bordeaux wine lovers who appreciate the wines of Gruaud Larose, that lack of consistency helps keep prices down.
The property was first owned by a knight known as Joseph Stanislas Gruaud. Two more members of the Gruaud family were also important factors in the birth of Gruaud Larose, one was a judge, the other was a priest. They owned numerous Bordeaux vineyards which they eventually joined together to create a 116 hectare Bordeaux wine estate called Fond Bedeau.
In 1778, the Chevalier de Gruaud passed away and management of the estate fell to his son-in-law, Joseph Sebastian de La Rose. La Rose added his name to the estate which became Gruaud Larose. He also gave his name to another massive Bordeaux estate, Chateau Larose Trintaudon.
In 1812, when the family was forced to sell Gruaud Larose to cover their debts, Pierre Balguerie, Baron Jean Auguste Sarget and David Verdonnet purchased the property together. David Verdonnet passed away shortly after. His share of the Left Bank estate was divided by the two remaining partners. For almost half a century, Gruaud Larose was co-managed by both families.
Shortly after the official 1855 Classification of the Medoc, Gruaud Larose was split up again in 1867. One half remained with Baron Sarget. This was called Chateau Gruaud Larose Sarget. Sarget is responsible for constructing the chateau on the property that is still in use today. The other half remained with the Bethmann descendants and was known as Chateau Gruaud Larose Faure.
By the time the 20th century rolled around, both properties remained separated. This all changed when the Cordier family purchase Gruaud Larose. The Sarget portion was obtained in 1917 and in 1935, the Faure portion was purchased which allowed the Cordier family to recreate the original estate.
In 1997 Gruaud Larose was purchased by Jacques Merlaut. Jacques Merlaut owns numerous other Bordeaux vineyards under the name of the Taillan Group including; Chateau La Gurgue, Chateau Haut Bages Liberal, Chateau Citran, Chateau Ferriere and Chateau Chasse Spleen among others.
The 82 hectare St. Julien vineyard of Gruaud Larose is planted to 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. The vineyard of Gruaud Larose is unique as it’s one of the largest vineyards in Bordeaux that is in one single block. The vineyard has not changed since it was created in 1781. Therefore, it is exactly the same today as it was when it was classified as a Second Growth int he 1855 Classification of the Medoc. The vineyards occupy the highest point of elevation on the St. Julien plateau.
Chateau Gruaud Larose has a terroir that is mostly gravel, with quartz, clay and sand based soils. The vines average 46 years of age. Most of the work in the vineyards is done with organic farming techniques. They use no insecticides, pesticides or herbicides.
There is a second wine which made its debut in 1986, Sarget de Gruaud Larose. The reduction in the amount of Chateau Gruaud Larose and the increase in what is placed into the second wine have led to a better quality wine.
The best vintages for Chateau Gruaud Larose are: 2010, 2009, 2000, 1990, 1986, 1982, 1961, 1959 and 1945.
Château Haut-Bailly, Pessac-Leognan, c sauv 65%, merlot 25%, c franc 10%
Château Haut-Brion, Pessac-Leognan, 1989, c sauv 45%, merlot 37%, c franc 18%
Château Haut-Marbuzet, st Estephe , 1999, merlot 50%, c sauv 40%, c franc 10% ***
Château Hosanna, Pomerol, Merlot 70%, c franc 30%
Château Leoville-Barton, st Julien, 2000, c sauv 72%, merlot 20%, c franc 8% *** also 01, 03,05
Château Leoville-Las Cases, 1996, St Julien, c sauv 65%, merlot 20%, Others 15%
Château Leoviille-Poyferre, 2004, St Julien, c sauv 65%, merlot 25%, others 10% ***
Château L'Eglise-Clinet, 2002, Pomerol, merlot 75%, c franc 20%, Malbec 5%
Château L'Evangile, 2004, Pomerol, merlot 70 %, c franc 30% ***
Château La Conseillante, Pomerol, Merlot 80 %, c franc 20%, 2004 ***
Château La Dominique, 2001, st emilion, Merlot 86%, c franc 12%, c sauv 2 %
Château a Fleur-Petrus, 1998, Pomerol, merlot 90%, c franc 10 % very Expensive but good ***
Château La Gomerie, 2003, st emilion, merlot
Château La Mission Haut-Brion, 1982, Pessac-Leognan, c sauv 48%, Merlot 45%, c
Franc 7 %
Château Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac, c sauv 83%, merlot 7%, others 10 %, 1996
Château Lafleur, 2004, Pomerol, Merlot 50%, cab franc 50 %
Château Lagrange, st Julien, 2000, c sauv 65%, merlot 28%, p Verdot 7 %***
Château Latour 2003, Pauillac, c. Sauv 81%, merlot 18% , p Verdot 1%
Château Latour-a-Pomerol, 1961, Pomerol, merlot, cab franc
Château le Bon Pasteur, 2005, Pomerol, merlot 80%, cab sauv 20%*** also 2000, 2001
Château les carmes-haut-Brion, 1998, Pessac-Leognan, merlot 55%, c franc 30%, c sauv 15% ***
Château lynch- bages, 1989, Pauillac , c sauv 73%, merlot 15%,, others 12%
Château Magdelaine 1990, st emilion, merlot 95%, cab franc 5 %
Château Margaux, 2004, Margaux, c sauv 78%, merlot 18%, p Verdot 4 %
Château Montaiguillon, 2004, Montagne st emilion, merlot.60%, c franc 20%, c sauv 20 % ***
Château Montrose, 2003, st Estephe , c sauv 65%, merlot 25%, c franc 10%
Château Mouton Rothschild, 1945, Pauillac, c sauv 85%, merlot 8%, c franc 7 %
Château almer, 1961, Margaux, c sauv 47%, merlot 47%, c franc 6%
Château Pape-Clement, 2000, Pessac-Leognan, cab sauv 60%, merlot 40%, also 98, 2002, 2005
Château Pavie, st emilion, 2003, merlot 70%, c franc 20%, c sauv. 10% Contoversial amongst critics some hating, Parker loving
Château Pavie-Macquin, 1999, st emilion, merlot 70%, c franc 25%, c sauv 5%
Château Petit-Villsge, 2000, Pomerol, merlot 75%, c sauv 17%, c franc 8 % ***
Château Pichon-Longuevills Baron, 2004, Pauillac , c sauv, merlot, c franc, p Verdot
Château Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, 1982, Pauillac, c sauv 45%, merlot 35%, others 20%
Château Pontet-Canet, 2004, Pauillac, c sauv 62%, merlot 32%, others 6%*** needs ageing
Château Ponjeaux, Moulis, 2005, c sauv 50%, merlot 40%, others 10%***
Château Providence, 2005, Pomerol, merlot 95%, cab franc 5 % ***
Château rauzan-segla, 2000, Margaux, c sauv 54%, merlot 41%, others 5% *** owned by wertheimers of Chanel
Château Roc de Cambes, 1995, Cotes de bourg, merlot 70%, c sauv 25%, Malbec 5%***
Château Sociando-Mallet, St Seurin, 2005, c sauv 55%, merlot 40%, c franc 5 %*** rebel owner Jean Gauntreau
Château Talbot, 2000, st Julien, c sauv 66%, merlot 26%, others 8%. One of largest vineyards in medoc *** also 90, 96, 04, 05
Château tertre-roteboeuf, 2001, st emilion, merlot 85%, cab franc 15%
Château troplong~Mondot. St emilion, merlot 90%, c franc 5%, c sauv 5%, 1998 ***
Château Trotanoy, 2005, Pomerol, merlot 90%, cab franc 10% next best Pomerol After Petrus
Château Valandraud, 2005, st emilion, merlot, c franc, c sauv, Malbec
Clos de l'oratoire, 1998, st emilion, merlot 90%, c sauv 5%, c franc 5% ***
Domaine de Chevalier, 1995, Pessac-Leognan, c sauv, merlot, c franc, p Verdot ***
Domaine de l'A, cotes de Castillon, 2001, merlot, can franc. C sauv ***
La Mondotte, 2000, st emilion , merlot, cab franc£££££ ***
Le dome, 1998, st emilion, cab franc 75%, merlot 25%*** £££££
Le Pin, 2001, Pomerol, merlot 92%, cab franc 8%
Petrus, 1989, Pomerol, merlot 95 %, 5. % 00, 01, 03, 05, 06 £££££ ***
Vieux chateau certan, 2000, Pomerol , merlot 70%, c franc 20%, c sauv 10%*** ££££