Bordeaux is the largest wine region in France with a vineyard area spanning 120,000 hectares, and an average annual production of around 700 million bottles. Almost 90% of the wine produced is red using a blend of grape varieties, the main 3 being: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
Home to a host of famous Chateaux, Bordeaux produces many of the world's most expensive and prestigious wines. Although huge in overall size, most the very best red wines are produced in a small number of communes - St-Estephe, Pauillac, St-Julien, Margaux and Pessac-Leognan on the Left Bank (Medoc), and St Emilion and Pomerol on the Right Bank. The Left Bank refers to the vineyard area to the west of the Gironde Estuary and Garonne River, while the Right Bank is the vineyard area adjacent to the River Dordogne.
Many of the best red wines in Bordeaux are ranked by classification. The most well know is the 1855 Medoc Classification which categorises the best wines on the Left Bank into 5 groups, from Premier Cru Classe (1st Growth) to Cinquieme Cru Classe (5th Growth).
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