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Bordeaux is located in the sunny southwest of France, winegrowers there being equipped with the perfect climate for their work. When referring to Bordeaux appellations, one commonly separates them into the Left Bank and the Right Bank, the two areas divided by the Gironde estuary to the north of Bordeaux, which splits into the Dordogne and Garonne rivers as one ventures further south.
The great appellations on the Left Bank of Bordeaux include Medoc, Margaux and St. Estephe, with mainly gravelly soils for cultivating Cabernet Sauvignon, the red wine grape of choice in this region. The Cabernet Sauvignon of the Left Bank is often complemented by other grape varietals such as Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot and Petit Verdot. On the Right Bank, which includes Saint-Emilion and Pomerol among other appellations, there is a wider range of soil types, including clay, sand, gravel and limestone. Merlot is the main varietal on this side of the river, with Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and/or Petit Verdot commonly being added to the blend.
Indeed, the Bordeaux Blend is reputed around the world and often imitated, the grape varieties therein being Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Malbec, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Barrels made of new oak are the most common aging vessel for these Bordeaux Blends, due to their ability to add class, complexity and depth to these best red grape combinations.