France: Bordeaux

Northern Médoc

The wines of Saint Julien, Pauillac and Saint Estèphe
By Jane Anson

This Guide was last updated on 05 March 2010
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Main grape varieties

Red

Cabernet Sauvignon
The most important grape for the wines of Médoc. It can be difficult to ripen on cooler, damper soils and thrives on the well-drained warm gravel soils here.

Merlot
Produces supple wines that develop earlier and complements Cabernet Sauvignon in the red wine blends.

Cabernet Franc
Often called Bouchet it is a lighter and less intense version of Cabernet Sauvignon, but gives many wines their finesse.

Petit Verdot
Has a particularly useful role in blending here, though with the proportion in the blend rarely exceeds 7%.

Malbec
Occasionally used as a blending ingredient, but sparingly


White

Sauvignon Blanc
Dominant grape for the best dry white wines in the Médoc, often used as a single varietal.

Sémillon
When blended with Sauvignon Blanc, it adds richness, structure and aging potential to dry whites.


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