Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc make up the red grape "trio" of Bordeaux. Petit Verdot and Malbec grape varieties are also used in lesser proportions. As soon as the grapes are harvested, the juice ferments with the grape skins; this gives the wine its color and tannins. After several weeks in vats (or barrels), wines made from different grape varieties are blended. The wine is then aged in vats or oak barrels for months or even years.
Bordeaux red wines should ideally be served at 61°-65°F. Given their good balance of alcohol, tannin and acidity, these wines are perfect to enjoy with all kinds of food: Medoc and Graves pair well with red meats and roasts; Saint-Emilion, Pomerol and Fronsac wines pair well with white meats, poultry, game and even fish; Bordeaux, Bordeaux Superieur and Cotes de Bordeaux wines are ideal matches for grilled meats, pasta and even more exotic "fusion" dishes.
From a rather featureless block of vineyards northeast of the town of Libourne and the district of St-Emilion, comes some of the world's most exciting Merlot-based wines. The properties may be small, some less than an acre, but the wines are remarkable. Some of the more westerly estates are on sandy soil, but at the heart of Pomerol, it is thick clay, with an underpinning of iron and minerals, that produce the classic wines of Petrus, Trontanoy, Le Pin, Certan-de-May and Latour-Pomerol. An adjacent district is Lalande-de-Pomerol, producing wines with a touch of Pomerol's rich and concentrated yet accessible style.