Located near the Atlantic coastline on the southwest of France, Bordeaux has a rich history and culture. And most importantly, it has some of the best red wines. The wine-growing regions of Bordeaux cover a vast area with over 120,000 hectares.

There is no doubt that the top quality wines produced in Bordeaux are among the most famous wines in the world. The grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc have made French wines legendary and have been grown in Bordeaux for centuries.

Climate, soil and terroire

Bordeaux’s climate and soil are suited to the production of both red and white varieties. However, 90% of this famous wine region’s production is red wine.

Thanks to unique natural elements including rivers, elevation changes, and a wide range of soils, winemaking has thrived here resulting in remarkable bottles of great wines. The vineyards are impacted by the warm waters of the Gironde estuary. The soil is a mix of soft clay and gravel. It’s a very rare combination that has delivered Bordeaux’s most desired red wines.

Wines from Bordeaux truly make a name for themselves is through the art of blending. Unlike Burgundy, where wines are almost always produced from one great variety. Bordeaux wines are usually a blend of multiple grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and sometimes Malbec.


Bordeaux is split into around 60 different appellations, which all have their own nuances and styles. One of the key distinguishing points of the region is the Gironde estuary, which splits board out into two distinct areas: the left bank and the right bank.

The key difference between the two banks is the terroir and soil types. Besides these, there are differences between the weather conditions as well. On the left bank, the soil is predominantly gravel with Cabernet Sauvignon being the main grape variety. The conditions and soil type here suit the later ripening Cabernet Sauvignon, which has a more pronounced tannin structure on the right bank. Learning these basic differences between the left bank and right bank Bordeaux is an excellent starting point for finding the styles that you love.

Photo credit: Jacqueline Macou