Similar to Burgundy, wines from Bordeaux are some of the most collectable wines in the world. Red Bordeaux can be aged for decades, and are often are aged by wine investors and sold for thousands of dollars further down the road. Red Bordeaux are often a mix of five different grapes which are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, and Petite Verdot.
Bordeaux is also broken down into smaller regions, (and sub-regions on top of that) and you’ll find the wine varies by what ratio of grapes they use. For example, Médoc and Graves lean towards a Cabernet style Bordeaux, and are grown on the ‘Left Bank‘. There are four powerhouse villages of Médoc, two which are Saint-Estèphe and Pauillac. These have heftier reds and more tannic reds then the other two villages which are St Julien, and Margaux. For Graves, a separate appellation called Pessac-Léognan has perhaps the best of what Graves has to offer.
For Merlot-Style Bordeaux, you’ll want to seek out Saint-Émilion. and Pomerol, which are grown on the Bordeaux ‘Right Bank‘. Château Pétrus, perhaps the world’s most expensive wine, comes from Pomerol. Both Pomerol and Saint-Émilion offer both the best and most expensive Bordeaux you can buy.
In future blog articles we will break down these regions even further, and offer more comprehensive wine pairings. for now, our wine pairing database can assist you with any of these wines.
The most expensive Bordeaux are made in a manner where they are meant to age for dozens of years before the punishing tannins diminish. The less expensive Bordeaux are often meant to be drunk in their youth. Part of the appeal of Bordeaux is that it has a complexity that you won’t find elsewhere. Your senses will be teased with hints of smoke, violet, vanilla, blackcurrant, plum and spice. It does this without seeming too heavy, giving it more substance than style.
To understand Bordeaux more completely requires further reading (and drinking) beyond the scope of this article. Just be aware there are different ranges in price for this wine ranging from $12 to $1,500. I don’t suggest dipping into the expensive side of the Bordeaux world until you have more drinking experience under your belt. The finer examples of Bordeaux will fly right by your taste buds as you won’t be able to appreciate the subtle nuances of this wine.
Due to its complexity, I prefer to pair this with more special fare. While it will go amazing with a simple Philly cheese steak sandwich, Red Bordeaux will be much more spectacular with a prime rib dinner.
If you are new to Bordeaux, but don’t want to pay the astronomical price of wine you’re not ready to understand, you can always buy a Cru Bourgeois, which is a wine from Médoc that did not make the strict Bordeaux classifications that were set in 1855. A Cru Bourgeois will not have the complexity of a top Bordeaux, but it does offer an experience to get started with the wine. Château de Pez, Château Gloria, and Château Meyney are all examples of a Cru Bourgeios. Again, we’ll delve deeper into the Cru Bourgeios and Food pairing deeper in future blog articles.
The region of Bordeaux produces white wines as well. They are produced using only the Sauvignon Blanc grape and the Semillon grape. While White Bordeaux is well made and delicious, when people say Bordeaux they are often referring to the Red version.
Red Bordeaux goes great with:
- Prime Rib
- Pepper Sauces
- Roquefort or Blue Cheese
- Grilled Meats