The 3 Wine Climates
Atlantic (or Oceanic, or Maritime) – eg Bordeaux
Continental – eg Burgundy / Beaujolais
Mediterranean – eg Rhône
BORDEAUX (water’s edge)
90% Medium to full-bodied, often complex and age-worthy, blended red wine. Also dry white, late-harvest white, rosé and sparkling.
Climate: Oceanic aka Atlantic. Cool wet nights, hot summer days.
Soil: the left bank has gravelly and sandy alluvial topsoil on limestone, whereas the right bank is more clay.
WHITE BORDEAUX (Bordeaux blanc).
Grape varieties: Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, Muscadelle (also a little Colombard and Ugni Blanc).
- unoaked dry white wine from Entre-Deux-Mers, Bourg, Blaye and catch-all appellations (majority Sauvignon Blanc)
- oak-aged blended white wine from Graves, Bourg and Blaye
- dessert wines: late-harvest botrytised white blends, majority Sémillon, such as Sauternes
SB (along with Cabernet Franc, the parent of Cabernet Sauvignon) is also the principal grape of the eastern Loire Valley. Outside Bordeaux, it is successful in cooler areas such as southern and coastal Chile (often at altitude) and the southern island of New Zealand.
Sémillon is rarely planted outside Bordeaux, although it is gaining in popularity in Australia, South Africa, Chile and California.
- citrus (steel aged) dry whites go well with seafood and soft cheeses including goats’ cheese. Majority SB blends are also great with vegetables such asparagus and salads, and also offers a contrast to creamy sauces
- smoky whites pair additionally with white meats and game
- late-harvest whites are designed to be drunk as an aperitif, or with starters such as foie gras. They are also sensational with blue cheese and fruit-based desserts.