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There are few wine regions in the world with a reputation as glowing and well established as that of the Bordeaux, in France. Situated mainly around the Dordogne and Gironde rivers, Bordeaux makes the most of its humid climate and rich, clay and gravel based soils to grow some of the finest examples of red and white grape varietals on earth. Wineries in this region have been in operation for hundreds of years, and have carefully developed the expertise required for the production of carefully balanced and utterly delicious blended red and white wines, alongside some exceptional single variety bottles. Many of the chateaux found in Bordeaux have become household names, due to their prestige and the excellence of their products, grown with love and dedication by heritage wineries in this beautiful and special region.
Year in, year out, France enjoys its prestigious reputation as the producer of the finest wines in the world. With a wine making history which spans several thousand years and owes its expertise to the Romans, it comes as little surprise that this most highly esteemed of the Old World wine countries continues to impress and enchant both novices and experts to this day. Despite the rise in quality of wines from neighboring European countries, not to mention the New World, the French wine industry continues to boom, with up to eight billion bottles being produced in recent years. However, France prides itself on always putting quality before quantity, and the wide range in fine produce is a testament to the dedication and knowledge of the wineries across the country. Indeed, from rich and complex reds to light and aromatic white wines, French wines are as varied and interesting as they are enjoyable to drink, making this country a firm favorite for wine lovers across the globe.
The historic Bordeaux region of South-West France has long been recognized as one of the principal viticultural centres of the world. One of the secrets of its success is due to the fact that it is split into several characterful appellations, each governed by rules which aim to make the most of the specific advantages of their terroir. One of the newest appellations is Pessac-Leognan, which was cordoned off from the famous sub-region of Graves in 1987, due to the merits of the fascinating and unique white and red wines which are produced there. Pessac-Leognan is widely regarded as having the finest soil in all of Bordeaux - a large presence of gravel allows the grapes to take on mineral qualities and a finesse which is highly celebrated by lovers of superb Bordeaux wine.
Those deep, gravelly soils allow for excellent drainage - perfect conditions for the cultivation of high quality Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc varietal grapes, which are blended to produce the exquisitely rounded and age-worthy wines typical of Chateaus such as Haut-Brion and Pape Clement. The white wines produced in Pessac-Leognan are made from Sauvignon-Blanc and Semillon grapes, and are typically aged in oak to bring forward the complexities and depth of flavor these varietals are capable of presenting in the bottle.
France is widely known as being the home of many of the world's finest white wines, and within France, the name which rings out across the wine world and is always associated with excellence of quality and flavor is Bordeaux. The white wines of the magnificent Bordeaux region are typically blended, and rely on the winemaker's skill and expertise to achieve the fine balance between the primary grape varietals used. Most blended white Bordeaux wines are made up of Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle varietals, although there are actually nine grapes officially allowed by French wine law for the inclusion in Bordeaux white wines. The other six are Sauvignon Gris, Merlot Blanc, Ugni Blanc, Colombard, Ondenc and Mauzac, although the use of these other grapes has been in steady decline over the past century.