France: Bordeaux

Pessac-Léognan

Easy reach from the city of Bordeaux - and truly excellent wines
By Jane Anson

This Guide was last updated on 12 May 2010
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Main wine styles

Reds

The reds are blends using mainly Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with a small dose of Cabernet Franc. The wines are supple and the bouquet is particularly distinctive reminiscent of minerals or even smoke. Ageing in oak barrels is usually for 15-18 months, but can be up to two years. Although they may be pleasant to drink after five years they can last up to around 20 years.

Whites

Excellent dry whites produced from blends of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon grown on sandier soils. The quality has improved immensely over recent years due to the investment in new technology, and the use of new oak. The whites, which can undergo both fermentation and maturation in barrel, develop rich aromatic notes accompanied by flowery tones, and can take up to ten years to mature. There are also some fine, modern, crisper styles.

Rosés

Bordeaux Clairets and rosés are made by macerating red grape varieties for a short time. Both are fresh and fruity, clairets have a more intense colour. Very little is produced.

Sparkling Wines

Crémant de Bordeaux is mainly white with a little rosé, generally Brut. It can offer good value for money.

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