France's red Bordeaux is one of the popular wine varieties rocking the market today. It is usually a blended wine made from, at most five, black grape varieties and typically goes best with lamb, red meat, or venison along with hard cheeses and crusty bread.
Every Bordeaux grape variety adds a unique character to the wine depending on its tannin, acidity, alcohol, and fruit components. A balance of these elements produce a great Bordeaux wine.
There are five grape varieties of French Red Bordeaux. Know each of them below:
1. Cabernet Franc. This variety which originates mostly in France produces a medium-bodied red wine loved for its savory, bell pepper-like flavors. Cabernet Franc’s acidity level ranges from medium to high, leaving a mouthwatering taste especially when paired with food. Although there are single-varietal Cabernet Franc wines in cellars today, the variety is more popularly used as a blending grape in the renowned Bordeaux blend.
2. Cabernet Sauvignon. Cabernet Sauvignon grape is actually thick, with durable skin, and is a very vine-friendly one that it eventually got adopted in many parts of France. It eventually found its best home place in Bordeaux region.
Wines from this variety are also full-bodied with a medium acidity level which also makes it go well with any dishes. The wine usually has an amazing level of tannins which make it ideal for aging especially in oak which helps bring out more beautiful flavors. Today, Cabernet Sauvignon is also commonly used as a blend with other Bordeaux varieties like Merlot.
3. Malbec. A grape variety that produces another full-bodied red wine, Malbec grows mostly in Argentina where wines are usually fruit forward and are usually considered a great, cheaper alternative to Cabernet Suavignon and Syrah. Wines out of Malbec grapes usually have plump, dark fruit flavors with a lovely smoky finish.
Malbec grapes from France, unlike those from Argentina, are more leathery with flavors ranging from tart currant, black plum to savory bitterness. French Malbec wines have higher acidity which attributes to flavors described as spice and black pepper. They have medium levels of tannins and lower levels of alcohol too.
4. Merlot. The first time Merlot grape was used in wine making was way back in the late 1700s when a certain French winemaker in Bordeaux formally considered it as a great ingredient in his Bordeaux wine blend. Today, Merlot is famous for its goodness as a blend which adds luscious fruit flavors and softness to a wine especially when blended with Cabernet Sauvignon. As a matter of fact, Merlot and the latter’s blend is one of the best selling, most-renowned Bordeaux blends that most wine enthusiasts love.
Merlot wines are usually soft, ripe, and elegant tasting and go well with any dishes too. The drinks are usually recommended as the first red wine a beginner should consider.
5. Petit Verdot. Also known as a famous blending grape in red Bordeaux blends, this variety also produces a full-bodied red wine and originates mostly in south west region of France. Wines out of Petit Verdot usually bear a lot of colors, tannin, and floral aromas. They are usually bold and are commonly added in less than 10% of most wine blends. Although commonly used as a blend, Petit Verdot is also sold as a single varietal wine especially in Spain, California, Australia, Washington, US, and Chile.
According to dominance, Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot is considered the most used as an ingredient in a lot of famous Bordeaux blends. Cabernet Franc ranks third followed by Petit Verdot and Malbec.
Although famous red wines of the Bordeaux region account the 90% of all Bordeaux wines, 10% of the grapes planted in the region are especially planted for the production of white wine.
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