Bordeaux is the main France wine region. The majority of Bordeaux wines are red, but there are also many popular white varieties including dessert wines such as the ‘Sauternes’. Situated just off the Atlantic coast of south western France, the Gulf Stream influences the temperature in the region and summer weather conditions tend to be unpredictable. However, generally Bordeaux vineyards benefit from coastal rainy springs, relatively mild summers and gentle winters.
The major red wine grape varieties are:
MERLOT — ripens relatively early in the season and is one of the most widely-planted grape varieties in Bordeaux. The climate and cool soils create smooth wines with a rich colour and aroma, with notes of plum and figs.
CABERNET SAUVIGNON — is a classic late-ripening local variety. The soil of the Left Bank is warm and assists in ripening. This grape variety gives composition to the wine along with nourishing tannins and flavour notes such as liquorice and blackcurrant. You may also detect elegant woodland aromas with age.
CABERNET FRANC — ripens earlier than Cabernet Sauvignon. It is a complementary grape which does not generally comprise the majority of a blend. This grape brings freshness along with floral and fruity fragrances of raspberry and violet.
White varieties include Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Muscadelle and others.
Sauvignon Blanc is one of the important varieties for making dry white wines. It gives the wines acidity, an aromatic freshness and the complex aromas of citrus, boxwood, and fig leaves. S?millon is a major grape variety for semi-sweet and sweet white wines and is typically constitutes some part of most dry white wines. It adds a roundness, richness and apricot and honey aromas. Muscadelle, takes a more subsidiary role in the blend of both dry and sweet wines. It is a fragile and very interesting variety with musky floral notes.
A vintage is the year a wine was produced. This is important because the vine behaviour (including factors such as yield and grape quality) will vary from one year to another. This variability is the result of a change in climatic conditions and is known in viticulture as the vintage effect.
Testing of wine can be done by the look, smell and taste of the wine. To test the quality of wines commercially, the wine producers approach wine tasters who are very well trained in their senses to test the quality of wines.