Bordeaux Blend

Not a grape variety, but this blend needs explanation. Red wine from Bordeaux (Claret) is usually a blend of two to five grape varieties

  • Following the historic mix of grape varieties in the region’s vineyards
  • Insurance against the failure of any one variety (e.g. Merlot to frost, Cabernet Sauvignon to September rains)
  • Advantage in that different grape varieties bring different positive qualities: Cabernet Sauvignon bring structure - tannins and acidity for longevity, colour and intense blackcurrant fruit; Merlot delivers higher sugar, charming fruit; Cabernet Franc has perfume; plus Petit Verdot for spice; and Malbec for red fruit

Typical blend proportions:

  • Left bank  e.g. Médoc, Graves

50-70% Cabernet Sauvignon; 25-50% Merlot; 0-25% Cabernet Franc; 0-5% Petit Verdot
N.B. Even on the left bank, Merlot can make up more than 50% of blend

  • Right bank  e.g. Pomerol, St. Emilio

50-90% Merlot; 10-35% Cabernet Franc; 0-20% Cabernet Sauvignon; 0-10% Malbec

Bordeaux blends have been replicated in the New World

Notably Meritage blends in California, plus South Africa and Chile

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