Home The Wine Guy A brief explanation about Bordeaux

A brief explanation about Bordeaux


What is Bordeaux? Is it a color? Is it a city? Is it a region? Is it a type of wine or does it have to do with certain types of grape varieties?

The answer is yes — it is all of the above.

First and foremost, the name refers to the city of Bordeaux; the surrounding region bears that name and so do the wines crafted there.

The name simply means “at the edge of the waters” — “bord”  is an edge or a bank and “eaux” is waters.

The wines from Bordeaux are world famous. Simply put, many wine connoisseurs everywhere think the absolute best wines on the planet come from there. The five major red grape varieties grown in Bordeaux are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot.

In addition, the region also produces excellent white wines made mainly from Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle de Bordeaux.

The city of Bordeaux sits on the western coast of France at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, but that’s not the only water part of its identity. You may have heard of Left Bank and Right Bank wines. Simply put, those banks are two distinct winemaking regions separated by the Garonne and the Dordogne rivers, forming an estuary called The Gironde.

From a bird’s-eye view, the area located to the north (and to the right) of the Gironde is the Right Bank. It includes the famous appellations of St.-Émilion and Pomerol, whereas the area located to the south (and left) of the Garonne is the Left Bank, which is home of the Médoc wines including the iconic Margaux, Pauillac and St. Julien, to name a few.

The area in-between the two rivers is called Entre-deux Mers — literally, the land “between two seas.”

Another notable difference between right and left banks has to do with the types of grapes that are more prominently used in the winemaking process.

Merlot is more dominant on the Right Bank, with the other four red grapes mentioned above used as blending agents, whereas on the Left Bank, Cabernet Sauvignon is dominant with the others used for blending.

Want a nice little Bordeaux wine without breaking the bank? Give this one a try for your everyday drinking purposes: Château Goudichaud Rouge 2018.

Not only did it receive 91 points from the very reputable Wine Enthusiast Magazine, but it also was given the “Editor’s Choice” accolade, which is truly remarkable for a wine in that price range.

Want to know more? Hit me up at www.facebook.com/olivierthewineguy or via email at olivierthewineguy@gmail.com.

Olivier is a wine broker and freelance writer. A native of France with roots deep in the famed wine-producing region of Burgundy, he is known as “Olivier The Wine Guy” and was featured on a weekly radio segment for 20 years. He’s volunteered as a guest wine auctioneer for charity events and also as a judge for the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo Wine Competition. He has lectured to live and online audiences, the San Antonio Museum Association, NPR, the San Antonio Regional Wine Guild, the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association and for Villa Finale Museum’s “Power of a Legacy” Series.


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