The Grapes of Bordeaux

Excerpted from Karen MacNeil’s The Wine Bible, 2nd Edition.  Bordeaux—the word alone fired the mind with the anticipation of greatness. No other wine region is more powerful, more commercially successful, or more important as a source of profoundly complex, ageworthy wines. Here is a brief introduction to the grapes you’ll find there, known for their elegance, while still possessing concentrated, powerful flavors. The Grapes of Bordeaux Whites MUSCADELLE A minor native grape sometimes incorporated into modestly priced blends for its light floral character. Not related to varieties with the word muscat in their names. SAUVIGNON BLANC Major grape. Crisp, austere, lively. Has an herbal freshness. Usually blended with sémillon. SÉMILLON Major grape. Dry and clean. Provides weight and depth and, with age, a honied character. Usually blended with sauvignon blanc. The primary grape for Sauternes. Reds CABERNET FRANC An important grape in Bordeaux, highly valued in blends even in small amounts. Often said to contribute aromatic intensity and notes of violets and spices. Especially important in the Right Bank communes of St. Émilion and Pomerol.The only one of the major Bordeaux reds to have originated elsewhere. (Cabernet franc is native to the Basque region of Spain.) CABERNET SAUVIGNON The second … Continue reading The Grapes of Bordeaux