Other than Tuscany and Napa Valley, one could argue that Bordeaux could be the only other region vying for supremacy in the wine world. This esteemed region is centered around the city of the same name on the Garonne River in Southwestern France.
The only permitted red grape varietals in Bordeaux are some of the stars of the winemaking world in Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, with Petit Verdot, Malbec and Carménère used only in a minor blending role and seldom seen.
The dry white wines of Bordeaux are typically made from Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle and one cannot forget the sweet gold-colored dessert wines called Sauternes. The greatest Sauternes are coveted like they are made of real 24-carat gold.
There are 60 appellations or AOC’s in Bordeaux which can make the region very intimidating to the novice. The area located south of the Garonne and Gironde rivers, the “Left Bank” as it is referred to, features the Cabernet-dominated wines in important appellations such as Margaux, Péssac-Leognan, St.-Julien, St.-Estèphe, and Pauillac. The Merlot-laden heavyweights of Saint-Émilion and Pomerol are on the “right-bank” north of the Dordogne and Gironde Rivers. Located furthest south are many of the common wines that make up the bulk of the production and are labeled with the names of their large, regional appellations like Bordeaux, Bordeaux Supérieur and Entre-Deux-Mers.