Bordeaux & Côtes de Bordeaux
Bordeaux is the largest wine region in France in both volume and value terms.It is home to many of the most prestigious names in fine wine but these are a tiny percentage of total wine production. The region has a moderate maritime climate and a variety of topographical features and soils making different styles of wine possible. The wines are predominantly red blends, made principally from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes, although Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot are also important. The vineyards to either side of the River Gironde are known as the Left Bank (Medoc and Graves) and the Right Bank (St-Emilion and Pomerol). White wines made from Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon are made both in a dry style (Pessac-Leognan and Graves) and in premium sweet styles (Sauternes and Barsac). The classification system of quality ranges from generic Bordeaux to the Grand Cru Classe wines of Haut Medoc and St-Emilion. The rosés of the region are known as 'Clairet'. This is thought to be the origin of the English term for red Bordeaux wines - 'Claret'.