France: Bordeaux

Bordeaux City and its Négociants

The heart of the City
By Jane Anson

This Guide was last updated on 16 June 2012
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Main grape varieties


Cabernet Sauvignon
One of the most important grapes for reds. It can be difficult to ripen on cooler, damper soils and thrives on the well-drained warm gravel soils of the Médoc.

Produces supple wines that develop earlier and complements Cabernet Sauvignon in the red wine blends. Higher proportions of Merlot are used where the soils have a higher clay content.

Cabernet Franc
Often called Bouchet it is a lighter and less intense version of Cabernet Sauvignon and gives the wines finesse.

Petit Verdot
Has a particularly useful role in blending here, though with percentages rarely above 7% of the blend.

Occasionally used as a blending ingredient.


Sauvignon Blanc
Dominant grape for the best dry white wines, can be seen either on its own or blended with Sémillon.

Blended with Sauvignon Blanc, it adds richness, structure and aging potential to dry whites.

Grown in small quantities, this floral grape gives finesse to Bordeaux white blends, often adding freshness to sweet wines.

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