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Bordeaux: key facts

To find out more about the history of Bordeaux, the 1855 classification, the grape varieites used and a vintage analysis, please read our guide below.

  • History

    Situated in South West France, Bordeaux is arguably the most famous wine producing region in the world. Wine has been produced here since the 1st century A.D. and for many it is the home of wine. The marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine to Henri Plantagenet (the future King of England) in 1152 marked the beginning of Britain's love of Bordeaux wines. The 17th century marked another significant era as trade with the Dutch flourished and Bordeaux found new markets around the world. The 1855 Classification was the next great landmark as Bordeaux's wines consolidated their international reputation for quality, and this Classification is still very relevant today. Over the centuries winemakers of the region have mastered both the art of blending and have learnt to work with Bordeaux's unique climate and terrain to produce a wide diversity of reds, whites and rosés all with a certain balance and elegance which is a characteristic of the region's wines. Today, many vineyards are still family owned and, while embracing modern techniques of winemaking, they benefit from the traditions of the past.

 
  • 1855 Classification

    Situated in South West France, Bordeaux is arguably the most famous wine producing region in the world. Wine has been produced here since the 1st century A.D. and for many it is the home of wine. The marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine to Henri Plantagenet (the future King of England) in 1152 marked the beginning of Britain's love of Bordeaux wines. The 17th century marked another significant era as trade with the Dutch flourished and Bordeaux found new markets around the world. The 1855 Classification was the next great landmark as Bordeaux's wines consolidated their international reputation for quality, and this Classification is still very relevant today. Over the centuries winemakers of the region have mastered both the art of blending and have learnt to work with Bordeaux's unique climate and terrain to produce a wide diversity of reds, whites and rosés all with a certain balance and elegance which is a characteristic of the region's wines. Today, many vineyards are still family owned and, while embracing modern techniques of winemaking, they benefit from the traditions of the past.

    Click here to see the classification of the red wines from the Medoc & Graves >
 
  • Grape Varieties

    Bordeaux is home to some of the world's favourite grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot along with Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon. However, it is the subtle blending of these grapes that results in Bordeaux's distinctive, elegant style. Red Bordeaux Cabernet Sauvignon is originally from Bordeaux and on its own it produces full bodied and intensely flavoured wine, but when blended with Merlot (and Bordeaux grows more Merlot than anywhere else in the world) which is soft, lush and plumy, the wine embraces the characteristics of each, resulting in a more complex and well balanced wine. The vast majority of Bordeaux reds are therefore a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. .White Bordeaux The whites too benefit from the characteristics of two principle grapes. The Sauvignon Blanc delivers fresh, zingy acidity and Sémillon tempers this with its richness and body Sweet White Bordeaux Often referred to as dessert wines, these intense, honeyed wines are generally made from Sémillon and often blended with a hint of Sauvignon Blanc or Muscadelle. Noble rot, a fungus encouraged to grow on the grape's skin, results in the highly concentrated berries required to produce these rich yet elegant wines.

 
  • Vintage

    The weather in Bordeaux varies from year to year, which impacts on the style and quality of the wine in any given year. Increasingly however, Bordeaux is less dependent on vintage (particularly for everyday wines). Developments in both viticulture (the growing of grapes) and viniculture (winemaking) have enabled the wine maker to maintain a consistent level of quality whatever the weather. Certain conditions can certainly help, particularly when the grapes have time to ripen slowly. Recent notable vintages are: 2000, 2005, 2009 and 2010 where nature gave a generous helping hand. Here you will find a useful chart which summarises the characteristics of recent Bordeaux vintages.

    Click to View chart that summarises the characteristics of recent Bordeaux vintages >

1855 Classification

MÉDOC

  • 1st Growths
  • Château LAFITE-ROTHSCHILD - Pauillac
  • Château LATOUR - Pauillac
  • Château MARGAUX - Margaux
  • Château MOUTON ROTHSCHILD - Pauillac
  • Château HAUT-BRION - Pessac
  • 2nd Growths
  • Château RAUZAN-SÉGLA - Margaux
  • Château LÉOVILLE-POYFERRÉ - Saint-Julien
  • Château GRUAUD LAROSE - Saint-Julien
  • Château PICHON-LONGUEVILLE - Pauillac
  • Château DUCRU-BEAUCAILLOU - Saint-Julien
  • Château RAUZAN-GASSIES - Margaux
  • Château LÉOVILLE LAS CASES - Saint-Julien
  • Château LÉOVILLE BARTON - Saint-Julien
  • Château DURFORT-VIVENS - Margaux
  • Château LASCOMBES - Margaux
  • Château BRANE-CANTENAC - Margaux
  • Château PICHON LONGUEVILLE COMTESSE de LALANDE - Pauillac
  • Château COS d'ESTOURNEL - Saint-EstÈphe
  • Château MONTROSE - Saint-EstÈphe
  • 3rd Growths
  • Château KIRWAN - Margaux
  • Château GISCOURS - Margaux
  • Château CANTENAC BROWN - Margaux
  • Château CALON-SÉGUR - Saint-EstÈphe
  • Château d'ISSAN - Margaux
  • Château LAGRANGE - Saint-Julien
  • Château LANGOA BARTON - Saint-Julien
  • Château MALESCOT SAINT-EXUPÉRY - Margaux
  • Château PALMER - Margaux
  • Château BOYD-CANTENAC - Margaux
  • Château LA LAGUNE - Haut-MÉdoc
  • Château DESMIRAIL - Margaux
  • Château FERRIÈRE - Margaux
  • Château MARQUIS d'ALESME - Margaux
  • 4th Growths
  • Château SAINT-PIERRE - Saint-Julien
  • Château DUHART-MILON - Pauillac
  • Château BEYCHEVELLE - Saint-Julien
  • Château TALBOT - Saint-Julien
  • Château BRANAIRE-DUCRU - Saint-Julien
  • Château POUGET - Margaux
  • Château LA TOUR CARNET - Haut-MÉdoc
  • Château LAFON-ROCHET - Saint-EstÈphe
  • Château PRIEURÉ-LICHINE - Margaux
  • Château MARQUIS de TERME - Margaux
  • 5th Growths
  • Château PONTET-CANET - Pauillac
  • Château GRAND-PUY DUCASSE - Pauillac
  • Château d'ARMAILHAC - Pauillac
  • Château BELGRAVE - Haut-MÉdoc
  • Château CROIZET-BAGES - Pauillac
  • Château BATAILLEY - Pauillac
  • Château HAUT-BATAILLEY - Pauillac
  • Château GRAND-PUY-LACOSTE - Pauillac
  • Château LYNCH-BAGES - Pauillac
  • Château LYNCH-MOUSSAS - Pauillac
  • Château DAUZAC - Margaux
  • Château du TERTRE - Margaux
  • Château HAUT-BAGES LIBÉRAL - Pauillac
  • Château PÉDESCLAUX - Pauillac
  • Château de CAMENSAC - Haut-MÉdoc
  • Château COS LABORY - Saint-EstÈphe
  • Château CLERC MILON - Pauillac
  • Château CANTEMERLE - Haut-MÉdoc
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