Bordeaux is the first place that comes to mind when we think about fine wine. The powerful reds from here are some of the longest lived and fetch some of the highest prices of any wines. Don’t forget the delicious whites and dessert wines too!

Bordeaux Grape Varieties

Reds: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Carmenere

Whites: Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Muscadelle

Bordeaux is a region of blends, there are varietal wines but these are the exception. The reds are largely blends of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and the white/dessert wines are mostly Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.

Bordeaux Sub-Regions

Bordeaux is split in half by the Gironde river (and further down the Garonne and Dordogne). This gives us the phrases ‘Left Bank’ and ‘Right Bank’. These two sides of the river craft wines of different styles with the left favouring Cabernet dominant wines and the right favouring Merlot dominant wines. However, it doesn’t stop there!

Below are the Left Bank Appellations (The Medoc)

Medoc: This covers all the wines made from the Northern tip of the left bank down to Bordeaux town. As a result, the wines can vary greatly in quality and style.

Saint Estephe: The wines here are often perfumed and elegant with firm structure and a long life.

Pauillac: This village is home to the highest number of first growths. Robust and dense wines with a pure Cabernet character.

Saint Julien: Home to the largest number of classified Chateaux and often viewed as a consistent and great value alternative to Pauillac. The wines here are full of concentrated fruit with a plush palate.

Margaux: Wines with a crisp floral aroma with a spicy and fruity palate. Some of the most elegant wines in Bordeaux are made here.

Also on the left bank, just south of Bordeaux town, you can find the Graves. Here Pessac Leognan produces wines of extreme power, poise and concentration with a hint of smokiness. The great Sauternes and Barsac dessert wine producers are also based south of the town.

Below are the Right Bank Appellations

Saint Emilion: This covers off a number of different appellations. Most wines are Merlot dominated but Cabernet Franc also features heavily, lending a herbal touch to these plummy wines.

Pomerol: Home to a number of micro-wineries, the most famous of all being Petrus. Pomerol is nearly always mostly Merlot with floral top notes and a concentrated core of fruit.

Bordeaux Classification

Bordeaux introduced the concept of classification in 1855 under Napoleon III, with a couple of amends, this rating is still alive today.

For the red wines of Medoc, the classification is as follows.

PREMIERS CRUS

Château LAFITE-ROTHSCHILD – Pauillac

Château LATOUR – Pauillac

Château MARGAUX – Margaux

Château MOUTON ROTHSCHILD – Pauillac

Château HAUT-BRION – Pessac

DEUXIÈMES CRUS

Château RAUZAN-SÉGLA – Margaux

Château RAUZAN-GASSIES – Margaux

Château LÉOVILLE LAS CASES – Saint-Julien

Château LÉOVILLE-POYFERRÉ – Saint-Julien

Château LÉOVILLE BARTON – Saint-Julien

Château DURFORT-VIVENS – Margaux

Château GRUAUD LAROSE – Saint-Julien

Château LASCOMBES – Margaux

Château BRANE-CANTENAC – Margaux

Château PICHON BARON – Pauillac

Château PICHON LONGUEVILLE COMTESSE de LALANDE – Pauillac

Château DUCRU-BEAUCAILLOU – Saint-Julien

Château COS d’ESTOURNEL – Saint-Estèphe

Château MONTROSE – Saint-Estèphe

TROISIÈMES CRUS

Château KIRWAN – Margaux

Château d’ISSAN – Margaux

Château LAGRANGE – Saint-Julien

Château LANGOA BARTON – Saint-Julien

Château GISCOURS – Margaux

Château MALESCOT SAINT-EXUPÉRY – Margaux

Château BOYD-CANTENAC – Margaux

Château CANTENAC BROWN – Margaux

Château PALMER – Margaux

Château LA LAGUNE – Haut-Médoc

Château DESMIRAIL – Margaux

Château CALON SÉGUR – Saint-Estèphe

Château FERRIÈRE – Margaux

Château MARQUIS d’ALESME BECKER – Margaux

QUATRIÈMES CRUS

Château SAINT-PIERRE – Saint-Julien

Château TALBOT – Saint-Julien

Château BRANAIRE-DUCRU – Saint-Julien

Château DUHART-MILON – Pauillac

Château POUGET – Margaux

Château LA TOUR CARNET – Haut-Médoc

Château LAFON-ROCHET – Saint-Estèphe

Château BEYCHEVELLE – Saint-Julien

Château PRIEURÉ-LICHINE – Margaux

Château MARQUIS de TERME – Margaux

CINQUIÈMES CRUS

Château PONTET-CANET – Pauillac

Château BATAILLEY – Pauillac

Château HAUT-BATAILLEY – Pauillac

Château GRAND-PUY-LACOSTE – Pauillac

Château GRAND-PUY DUCASSE – Pauillac

Château LYNCH-BAGES – Pauillac

Château LYNCH-MOUSSAS – Pauillac

Château DAUZAC – Margaux

Château d’ARMAILHAC – Pauillac

Château du TERTRE – Margaux

Château HAUT-BAGES LIBÉRAL – Pauillac

Château PÉDESCLAUX – Pauillac

Château BELGRAVE – Haut-Médoc

Château de CAMENSAC – Haut-Médoc

Château COS LABORY – Saint-Estèphe

Château CLERC MILON – Pauillac

Château CROIZET-BAGES – Pauillac

Château CANTEMERLE – Haut-Médoc

For the sweet wines of Sauternes and Barsac, the classification is as follows.

PREMIER CRU SUPÉRIEUR

Château d’Yquem, Sauternes, AOC Sauternes

PREMIERS CRUS

Château LA TOUR BLANCHE – Sauternes

Château LAFAURIE-PEYRAGUEY – Sauternes

Clos HAUT-PEYRAGUEY – Sauternes

Château de RAYNE VIGNEAU – Sauternes

Château SUDUIRAUT – Sauternes

Château COUTET – Barsac

Château CLIMENS – Barsac

Château GUIRAUD – Sauternes

Château RIEUSSEC – Sauternes

Château RABAUD-PROMIS – Sauternes

Château SIGALAS RABAUD – Sauternes

DEUXIÈMES CRUS

Château de MYRAT – Barsac

Château DOISY DAËNE – Barsac

Château DOISY-DUBROCA – Barsac

Château DOISY-VÉDRINES – Barsac

Château d’ARCHE – Sauternes

Château FILHOT – Sauternes

Château BROUSTET – Barsac

Château NAIRAC – Barsac

Château CAILLOU – Barsac

Château SUAU – Barsac

Château de MALLE – Sauternes

Château ROMER du HAYOT – Sauternes

Château ROMER – Sauternes

Château LAMOTHE – Sauternes . Château LAMOTHE-GUIGNARD – Sauternes

For the Graves, the 1953 Classification is below.

CRUS CLASSÉS DE GRAVES

Château Bouscaut, Cadaujac, rouge et blanc

Château Carbonnieux, Léognan, rouge et blanc

Domaine de Chevalier, Léognan, rouge et blanc

Château Couhins, Villenave-d’Ornon, blanc

Château Couhins-Lurton, Villenave-d’Ornon, blanc

Château de Fieuzal, Léognan, rouge

Château Haut-Bailly, Léognan, rouge

Château Haut-Brion, Pessac (également Premier Cru classé en 1855), rouge 

Château Latour-Martillac, Martillac, rouge et blanc

Château Laville-Haut-Brion, Talence, blanc

Château Malartic-Lagravière, Léognan, rouge et blanc

Château La Mission-Haut-Brion, Talence, rouge

Château Olivier, Léognan, rouge et blanc

Château Pape-Clément, Pessac, rouge

Château Smith-Haut-Lafite, Martillac, rouge

Château La Tour-Haut-Brion, Talence, rouge

Reviewed more regularly than the Left Bank system, the 2012 Saint Emilion classification is below.


PREMIERS GRANDS CRUS CLASSÉS

Château Angélus (A) 

Château Ausone (A) 

Château Beau-Séjour (héritiers Duffau-Lagarrosse) 

Château Beau-Séjour-Bécot 

Château Bél Air-Monange 

Château Canon 

Château Canon la Gaffelière 

Château Cheval Blanc (A) 

Château Figeac 

Clos Fourtet 

Château la Gaffelière 

Château Larcis Ducasse 

La Mondotte 

Château Pavie (A) 

Château Pavie Macquin 

Château Troplong Mondot 

Château Trottevieille 

Château Valandraud 

GRANDS CRUS CLASSÉS

Château l’Arrosée 

Château Balestard la Tonnelle 

Château Barde-Haut 

Château Bellefont-Belcier 

Château Bellevue

 Château Berliquet 

Château Cadet-Bon

 Château Cap de Mourlin

 Château le Chatelet 

Château Chauvin

 Château Clos de Sarpe 

Château la Clotte 

Château la Commanderie 

Château Corbin 

Château Côte de Baleau

 Château la Couspaude

 Château Dassault 

Château Destieux 

Château la Dominique

 Château Faugères

 Château Faurie de Souchard 

Château de Ferrand

 Château Fleur Cardinale

 Château La Fleur Morange Mathilde

 Château Fombrauge 

Château Fonplégade 

Château Fonroque

 Château Franc Mayne

 Château Grand Corbin

 Château Grand Corbin-Despagne

 Château Grand Mayne

 Château les Grandes Murailles

 Château Grand-Pontet 

Château Guadet

 Château Haut Sarpe

 Clos des Jacobins

 Couvent des Jacobins 

Château Jean Faure

 Château Laniote 

Château Larmande 

Château Laroque 

Château Laroze Clos la Madeleine 

Château la Marzelle

 Château Monbousquet

 Château Moulin du Cadet

 Clos de l’Oratoire

 Château Pavie Decesse

 Château Peby Faugères

 Château Petit Faurie de Soutard

 Château de Pressac

 Château le Prieuré

 Château Quinault l’Enclos

 Château Ripeau

 Château Rochebelle 

Château Saint-Georges-Cote-Pavie 

Clos Saint-Martin 

Château Sansonnet 

Château la Serre

 Château Soutard

 Château Tertre Daugay 

Château la Tour Figeac 

Château Villemaurine

 Château Yon-Fig