Like Burgundy and Champagne in the north, Bordeaux ranks among France’s most famous wine regions, with more than 386 square miles (1,000 square-kilometers) of vineyards and 5,000 châteaux producing about 70 million gallons of wine annually. Touring the historic wineries is the absolute top pastime of visitors to the city.
Whether you’re a wine connoisseur seeking a fine vintage or a social drinker looking for an introduction to Bordeaux wine, tasting tours, workshops and vineyard walks are all part of an unmissable cultural experience. But before you go, be sure to do a little homework on the region’s most famous wines.
Although you’ll definitely find a wide range of whites and roses on offer, Bordeaux is most famous for its red wine, made mostly from cabernet sauvignon and merlot grapes. The region is renowned for its fruity, full-bodied reds with high levels of tannins. Of course, not all Bordeaux wines taste the same—there are 57 wine appellations and thousands of vineyards to choose from, each with its own distinctive varieties.
Northwest of Bordeaux, the Médoc region on the left bank of the Garonne is known for its full-bodied reds; the hillside vineyards of Bourg, Fronsac and Côtes de Bordeaux are known for their fruity reds; and the famous St Émilion and neighboring Pomerol boast some of the best and priciest red wines in the region, coming from a number of wine producers with the prestigious Premiers Grands Crus Classés classification. St Émilion also produces some excellent white wines, although the best dry white wines come from the vineyards of Graves-Sauternes, also renowned for their sweet white dessert wines.