One of the most well-known French regions, Bordeaux is the largest wine producing region in France, with nearly 118,000 hectares under vine. Named after a city on the Garonne River, Bordeaux lines the banks of the Garonne and Dordogne Rivers, as well as the Gironde estuary. Given Bordeaux’s proximity to the coast, the region has a maritime climate that tends to be mild and humid, with warm and wet summers. Bordeaux’s most prominent varietals are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Sémillon, while Petite Verdot, Malbec, Carmenère, and Muscadelle play a supporting role.
Bordeaux is split into 5 major sub-regions. Medoc is most renowned for its red wine and is considered Cabernet Sauvignon country. It's home to Saint-Julien AOP, Pauillac AOP, and Margaux AOP. Meanwhile, Graves produces both white and red wines; its gravely soils ideal for Cabernet Sauvignon. The Right Bank, an informal name for the appellations on the eastern bank of Gironde estuary, is home to Pomerol AOP and Saint-Émilion AOP. Lining the eastern edge of Bordeaux, Côtes de Bordeaux produces white wines and Merlot based reds. Lastly, the "land between two seas," Entre-Deux-Mers produces dry white wines made from steely, crisp Sauvignon Blanc.
Bordeaux wines are typically blends, with red wines containing two or more varietals and Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc making up white wines. Red wines from Medoc and Graves are typically Cabernet Sauvignon dominant, while Merlot and Cabernet Franc play a bigger role in Right Bank reds, since Cabernet Sauvignon has difficulty ripening in its cold clay soils. For white wines, Sauvignon Blanc plays a bigger role in dry wines while Sémillon is more prominent in dessert wines. Sauternes and Barsac are highly acclaimed, age worthy dessert wines from Bordeaux that tend to have small yields since botrytis cinerea (noble rot) doesn’t affect the grape bunches evenly.