Bordeaux Blends The Fab Five With so much history under its belt, it's no wonder that Bordeaux has figured out the recipe to produce amazing wines. Centuries of making (and drinking) wine led to the blend that has become synonomous with Bordeaux. Winemakers in the New World replicate this formula to create successful blends in their respective regions - you may see Bordeaux blends from the US labeled Meritage (rhymes with heritage). The name defines American wines made from Bordeaux grapes.
Notable Facts Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. These five red grapes are the components of a classic Bordeaux blend. Cabernet Sauvignon and/or Merlot usually play the lead role, while Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot act as the supporting cast. These three grapes help to add color, structure and body in varying amounts. A Bordeaux blend typically, but not exclusively, uses at least three of the five grapes to be labeled as such, but many wines in Bordeaux and else where stick to just two. The beauty of the blend? Each year the percentage of each grape in the blend can vary and the winemaker can include more of the variety that excelled in that particular vintage.
Summing it up Successful Sites: Bordeaux, California, Australia, Washington
Learn More About Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
The Big Three
Home to three premier cru (first growth) chateaux, Pauillac is a leader in quality Bordeaux. Chateaux Latour, Lafite Rothschild and Mouton Rothschild are situated within the Pauillac appellation. Sandwiched between St.-Estèphe and St.-Julien, Pauillac wines are big - known for their combination of elegance and power.
The gravel-based soils of Pauillac are key in creating the structured wines produced there. Like most of Bordeaux's left bank, Cabernet Sauvignon is the leading grape. Some typical descriptions of wine from Pauillac include: concentrated, full-bodied, powerful, firm tannins, ability to mature. Not all of the Pauillac wines are top price collectibles that you can only find at auctions. There are great values in the lower level crus, like the fifth growth, Chateau Lynch-Bages, as well as great Cru Bourgeois such as Chateau Pibran. These wines are more affordable and often mature a bit sooner.