Bordeaux is the world’s largest fine wine producing region, encompassing nearly 300,000 acres, 60 individual appellations, and more than 7,300 châteaux. The Bordeaux appellations of Margaux, Pauillac, Saint Julien, Saint Émilion, and Pomerol are legendary, as are the scores of age-worthy collectible red wines that flow from those Bordeaux communes’ hallowed vineyards.
Both the red and white wines of Bordeaux (both the region and its wines are referred to as Bordeaux) are some of the finest and most expensive wines on earth. Moreover, this renowned viticultural region has become synonymous with full-bodied red wine. Bordeaux is also the traditional home of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, the three musketeers of almost all red Bordeaux and the basis for Meritage blends around the world. And what eludes many wine consumers is that Bordeaux is also one of the planet’s largest and greatest sources of white wine, principally from Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.
Bordeaux, meaning beside the waters, refers to the region’s proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the broad estuary, the Gironde, for which the entire viticultural department (the equivalent of a county or state in the United States) is named. Bordeaux, the region as well as the department’s leading city, lie at the center of the confluence of the Dordogne and Garonne Rivers, which flow into the Gironde and nearby Atlantic Ocean, which redoubles Bordeaux’s effort to live up to its name. It is Bordeaux’s proximity to the sea that provides moderate climate, which is favorable to the production of fine wine. Bordeaux’s marriage to the sea has also provided the historical highway by which Bordeaux wines have traveled the world, gaining esteem and recognition long before most other landlocked wine regions could safely transport their wines overland to eager markets.
Since the first century BCE, when the Romans established themselves in Bordeaux and referred to the area as Biturigiaca, this ancient viticultural paradise has been a constant source of fine wine. Known to the emperors of Rome, popes, and poets (most notably Pliny and Ausonius), Bordeaux has enjoyed the envy of the wine producing world longer than any other wine region on earth. From Pliny to the most contemporary wine critics, including Robert Parker Jr., Bordeaux wines have never gone out of favor. And with a string of outstanding vintages (2015-2020), the wines of Bordeaux have never been better. Moreover, few other wine regions can claim three millennia of continuous production and millions of satisfied customers.