Bordeaux — pronounced bore-dough — rolls right off the tip of the tongue. Saying the famous French region’s name aloud, you can almost taste the smooth glass that awaits. In our guide, we’ll cover the grapes you’re likely to find in signature blends, label deciphering pointers and more. To cap off the itinerary: some of our favorite bottles, plus storing and serving tips from our wine experts.
Bonus: From October 5 through January 3, save on select Bordeaux wines. Plus, take an additional 10% off purchases of six or more bottles.*
Exclusively for Prime members in select ZIP codes.
What Is Bordeaux Wine?
Ruby-hued stunners, Bordeaux red wines are typically dry and oak-aged while embracing the hallmark French grape varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Not to be overlooked are the fresh, full-bodied, dry white wines and honeyed, sweet dessert options made from Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon. All are delicious.
Bordeaux Wine Region
Let’s get our bearings. Located on the west coast of central France, the Gironde estuary divides Bordeaux into the Left Bank and Right Bank. Each sports a distinctive style owing to the unique properties of terroir and microclimate. Left Bank wines tend to be grown on gravel, while Right Bank are predominately clay and limestone.
Left Bank: Lefties have a reputation for tannic structure from Cabernet grapes with blends higher in alcohol and acidity — often well suited for cellaring.
Right Bank: Righties tend to be Merlot-based, softer, less tannic and more approachable with a juicy ready-to-drink personality. Taste for yourself — your palate might just be ambidextrous. Below are a few appellations to check out.
This large regional appellation mirrors the Bordeaux AOC — appellation d’origine contrôlée — or controlled designation of origin. The Supérieur certification mandates certain additional quality controls like grapes from older vines, lower yields, a minimum of 10.5% ABV and 12-month minimum bottle aging.
Near the town of Libourne, Canon Fronsac is made up of limestone ridges, steep grades and generous plateaus. Wines from this region are well-priced and compare favorably to the communes of Saint-Émilion and Pomerol found nearby.
Home to the heralded appellations of Saint-Estèphe, Pauillac, Saint-Julien and Margaux, the mineral-rich soil of the peninsula is well suited to Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.
Favorite Bordeaux Wines To Try
From refreshing whites to deep, tannic reds, Bordeaux is a tapestry of flavors and styles. Our wine experts have curated an assortment of well-made, approachable expressions available at accessible price points.
2020 Château Les Garelles
This organic, back-to-the-earth creamy white is boastfully Bordeaux: A delicate swirl of grapefruit, lemon curd and star fruit notes, with no added sulfites. Oui oui!
2020 Château d’Anice
A beautiful Graves blanc white blend with aromas of green apple and lemon with flavors of citrus and zesty crisp acidity. Uncork and unleash your palate.
2020 Château Rousset-Caillau
Notes of caramel, cassis, tobacco and violet make this ruby red the French accent your table desires. Silky tannins, a long finish—yes, this pour has personality.
2019 Château Rochers Bellevue Castillon
A biodynamic blend, this third-generation harvest evokes black cherry, herbal rosemary and autumn leaves, with spicy cedar notes to finish. Warmth in a glass.
2018 Château Beauséjour Cuvée Prestige
Once cultivated by monks in the Middle Ages, this vineyard produces stellar reds—so relish the juicy blackberries, ripe cherries and finishing hints of licorice and spice.
2020 Château Beauregard Ducasse Cuvée Albert Duran
Perched on a peak in the Graves appellation, this 1850 winery boasts a young vintage of dark fruits with a black pepper finish. Traditionally aged in French oak barrels.
2020 Château La Devine Cuvée Passion
At under two hectares, this boutique winery benefits from its Saint-Émilion Right-Bank locale: Merlot-centric with flavors of cranberry, cherry and refreshing tannins. À votre santè!
2018 Château De Roquebrune Cuvée Reine Lalande De Pomerol
This predominantly Merlot-based wine is traditionally harvested in the cool morning hours to preserve family tradition. The result is a cherry-pie-and-plum aroma with a suede-like finish.
2019 Château de Malleret Le Baron de Malleret
From one of the oldest vineyards in the Haut-Médoc, this youthful wine explodes with dark fruit and an earthy palate. Uncork and binge French New Wave cinema.
2016 Château Morin Saint-Estèphe
Traditionally harvested. Barrel-aged in oak. Elegantly mature. This smoky blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon (with subtle chocolate notes) punctuates its Saint-Estèphe origins.
2019 Château Le Coteau Margaux
Planted on 12 hectares of prime Margaux real estate and unique Günzian gravelly soil. The result? A fruit forward palate with jammy blackberry, black olive, herbs de Provence and licorice notes. Mmm.
2018 Château Tour du Roch-Milon
Aromas of tea leaves, spice box and cedar. Palate of black plum, fruit leather and savory herbs. Finish of vanilla-influenced oak tannins. You won’t be bored with this Bordeaux.
How to Read a Bordeaux Wine Label
We’re here to help un-daunt the process of decoding Bordeaux labels without signing up for French lessons. Here are some tips to get you going.
Grand Vin = “great wine”
You might very well see Grand Vin scrawled across the face of the label. It means “great wine,” but there are no rules, regulations or standards behind it. Think of it as a friendly marketing flourish.
Hone In on Exactly Where It’s Grown
With more than 60 appellations across Bordeaux (the most in France), it’s a stretch to achieve somm-level expertise overnight. They are important, however, as identifying whether they are Right Bank (usually Merlot dominant) or Left Bank (usually Cabernet Sauvignon dominant) will clue you into the primary grape types that make up the blend.
Classifications: A Cru Story
With first to fifth growths (“Crus” in French) and a Grand Cru Classé quality system created in 1855, things can get complicated fast. The bottom line — classified growths represent prestigious estates that make fantastic, highly sought-after wine but only a very small percentage of the total wine grown in the region. There are many, many outstanding unclassified examples.
Every year, mother nature plays a big role in shaping the character (and yield) of the wine that’s made in a given region. Sun, rain, heat and frost all impact the growing season — when the harvest begins and ends. For a deep dive into specific Bordeaux vintages, get the full scoop on Bordeaux.com opens in a new tab.
Serving and Pairing Tips
Ready to find your new go-to or special occasion Bordeaux wine? Check out our expert Wine Team’s insider tips for navigating our Wine department. After you’ve found the perfect bottle, make sure to store it properly if you’re not planning to drink it right away.
Keep it cool: Bordeaux, like most red wines, should be served slightly cooler than room temperature. The full-bodied and tannic wines from Bordeaux benefit from an ever so slight chill to 60–65°F.
Let it breathe: A little aeration goes a long way, helping to soften tannins and bring out nuanced notes. No need to splurge on a fancy decanter in the shape of a swan; get creative with a tea pitcher or flower vase. Aim for a vessel that can hold at least 32 ounces, and preferably double that to give the wine some room.
Go big on the glassware: Our experts suggest selecting a glass with 17 to 22 ounces of capacity. That doesn’t mean you should go heavy on outsized pours — 5 ounces is still the standard. The extra space allows for swirling, which brings out lovely aromas.
The golden rule of food pairing: If you don’t like a wine sipped by itself, even the most fantastic food is unlikely to elevate it to that special level of meal magic. So, pick a wine you like as a base. Classic seafood dishes lend themselves to the fresh and full-bodied white wines of Bordeaux while hearty meats, stews and steaks make for a melt-in-your-mouth partner with the region’s more rich and tannic red wines.
Check out Our Guide to Shopping the Wine Department for even more insider tips.
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*Valid 10/5/22–1/3/23 unless otherwise stated. Must be 21+. Please drink responsibly. Offer valid for select wines as marked in-store only. Select wines may not be available at all Whole Foods Market locations. Ask a team member for details. Prices as marked. Quantity limits apply. While supplies last. Quantities limited. No rain checks except where required by law. Sale prices not legally available in all stores. Available on WFMOA where alcohol delivery is legal. Offer cannot be combined with case discounts where prohibited by law. Case discount limited to in-store and select U.S. stores.