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Understanding Bordeaux: The Place, Wine, and History

Some of the most coveted fine wines for investment in the whole world hail from Bordeaux, France. Is it an appellation? Maybe it is the grape species? What exactly makes Bordeaux wine the benchmark of fine wines across the globe?

This article aims to uncover that and more.

Bordeaux’s Location

Bordeaux is a region found on central France’s west coast. The Bay of Biscay cuts through the area to create the left and the right banks. These banks are important winemaking regions that made Bordeaux what it is today.

The region’s soil composition and climate may be great for viticulture, but its closeness to the Atlantic makes grape growing challenging. The rainfall and humidity plaguing the grape-growing seasons affects grape harvest and makes vintage variance of great importance.

Bordeaux Wine’s Acclaim

The proximity of the region to the ports is a great boon to its wine industry. With easy access to the port, Bordeaux’s winemakers can export their products internationally with ease.

Bordeaux’s advantageous location made it possible to send off wealthy merchants with wines from the region. As these merchants traded across the globe, they introduced Bordeaux wine to foreign lands. 

Since the trip to and from Bordeaux cost a lot of money, only the upper class could buy a bottle or two. Soon, those who could afford the wine in Great Britain and the Netherlands started collecting them, making them some of the first to collect Bordeaux wines for investment.

Bordeaux Grapes

Bordeaux wines use six grape varieties, namely Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Carménère, Malbec, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. Although six grapes are allowed to play a part in the wine, four of these grape varieties only serve as second fiddle. Like the Malbec and Carménère, some appear in less than 2 per cent of the blend.

Bordeaux wines predominantly use Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. While the other varieties are somewhat negligible, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot turn the wine into a Bordeaux wine.

Bordeaux Blends

The proportion of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon depends on which side of the bay its winery is located. Wineries on the left bank prefer Cabernet Sauvignon, while those from the right bank lean more towards the Merlot.

Left-bank blends are known for their rich and luxurious reds with more tannins, acidity, and alcohol. Meanwhile, right-bank combinations are recognised for their softer and juicier wines with fewer tannins, alcohol, and acidity.

White Bordeaux Wines

Although Bordeaux is well-known for its red wines, it also produces white wines. One white Bordeaux wine is dubbed the most desirable dessert wine in the world—the Sauternes.

Sauternes wines primarily come from the Sémillon variety with a small portion of Sauvignon Blanc grapes. The thinness of Sémillon grape skins and its botrytis susceptibility gives the wine its waxy vanilla viscosity, expressive citrus and green apple flavours, and racy acidity.

Bordeaux Prices

Bordeaux wines’ popularity made it accessible to everyone. Variations in quality, age, and producer are significant factors to placing Bordeaux wines at different price points.

Ready-upon-release wines from relatively smaller wineries fetch around GBP 11 to 19. Cellar-worthy vintages from top chateaus start from GBP 22 and go up significantly over generations.


Bordeaux wines are some of the best fine wines for investment that every collector desires. This renown can be attributed to their location and the dedication of their producers. 

Despite being established fine wines worthy for investment, there is a Bordeaux wine at every price point. This makes it the perfect wine to drink, collect, and celebrate life, love, and family with.

Cru Wine is a Queen’s award-winning business that offers some of the best fine wine investments. We share our client’s passion for wines and wine collecting and work to make it available for them wherever they are in the world. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you!

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