France is known for producing some of the finest red wines in the world, and two of its most renowned regions for red wines are Burgundy and Bordeaux. Although both regions are in France, they have different climates, soils, and winemaking techniques, which result in distinct flavor profiles for their wines. In this article, we will explore the main differences in the flavors of French red wines Burgundy and Bordeaux.
Burgundy Red Wines
Burgundy is located in eastern France, and its red wines are made from the Pinot Noir grape variety. Burgundy’s climate is continental, with cold winters and warm summers. The region’s soil is mostly limestone-based, which is excellent for producing wines with high acidity and minerality.
The flavors of Burgundy red wines are often described as delicate and complex, with notes of red fruit, such as cherries and strawberries, as well as earthy and spicy undertones. The wine’s tannins are generally light and smooth, which makes them easy to drink even when they are young.
Burgundy red wines are typically classified by the specific vineyards or plots where the grapes are grown. These plots, known as “climats,” are considered the soul of Burgundy wines and are highly valued for their unique terroir.
Bordeaux Red Wines
Bordeaux is located in southwestern France, and its red wines are made from a blend of grape varieties, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. Bordeaux’s climate is oceanic, with mild winters and warm summers. The region’s soil is mostly gravel-based, which is excellent for producing wines with a rich and full-bodied character.
The flavors of Bordeaux red wines are often described as bold and powerful, with notes of black fruit, such as blackcurrant and blackberry, as well as hints of tobacco, leather, and cedar. The wine’s tannins are typically high and firm, which gives them a structure that allows them to age well for many years.
Bordeaux red wines are typically classified based on the location of the vineyards where the grapes are grown. The wines from the left bank of the Gironde River, such as those from the regions of Medoc, Graves, and Pessac-Leognan, are predominantly made from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and are known for their power and structure. The wines from the right bank of the river, such as those from the regions of Saint-Emilion and Pomerol, are predominantly made from Merlot grapes and are known for their richness and elegance.
Main Differences in Flavor
The main differences in the flavors of Burgundy and Bordeaux red wines can be attributed to several factors, including the grape varieties used, the climate and soil conditions, and the winemaking techniques.
Burgundy red wines are made exclusively from the Pinot Noir grape variety, which is known for its delicate and complex flavors. The Pinot Noir grape is particularly sensitive to the climate and soil conditions, which makes it challenging to grow but results in wines with unique terroir.
Bordeaux red wines, on the other hand, are made from a blend of grape varieties, which allows winemakers to create wines with a wide range of flavors and styles. The dominant grape varieties used in Bordeaux wines are Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which have distinct flavor profiles. Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are known for their tannins and acidity, while Merlot grapes are known for their richness and softness.