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Left Bank

The Left Bank refers to the famous wine-producing areas on that side of the Garonne River as it flows down to join the Gironde Estuary and the vast Atlantic Ocean.  The Médoc, Margaux, Pauillac, St-Julien, Graves and Sauternes are names that are known and revered around the world, and here they all cluster together with the city of Bordeaux in their midst. 

The Left Bank refers to the famous wine-producing areas on that side of the Garonne River as it flows down to join the Gironde Estuary and the vast Atlantic Ocean.  The Médoc, Margaux, Pauillac, St-Julien, Graves and Sauternes are names that are known and revered around the world, and here they all cluster together with... read more.

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The Left Bank may now have to watch the urban sprawl nibble away at its vineyards, but it was Bordeaux that ensured its initial and enduring fame.  It was the port from which exports thrived, notably to Britain, and the district has never looked back.

Each appellation has its own style but the best red wines, with the exception of Listrac-Médoc, have Cabernet Sauvignon at their core. The soils of the Left Bank are predominantly gravelly and perfectly suit this noble grape. Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot make up the rest. Firm, well structured and complex wines are the intended and usual outcome.

Gravelly soils, an altitude of below 100m above sea level and the influence of the Atlantic Ocean unify the vineyards of the Left Bank, but localised conditions can vary enormously. The importance of terroir, that magical mixture of all the natural conditions, can hardly be more worshipped than in the region of Bordeaux. Individual appellations need to be investigated for more detail, but it is true to say of them all that climate has an enormously influential effect on the quality of each vintage.

For red wines, 2000, 1996, 1995 and 1990 were all outstanding vintages and 2002 and 2003 have been very good. 1982, 2005, 2009 and 2010 were quite exceptional. The sweet whites of Sauternes and Barsac have not disappointed for over a decade and 2003 and 2001 were both excellent. Examples from 2010, 2009, 2005 1990, 1989 and 1983 are all exemplary.

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  1. Château Rahoul Blanc, Graves

    Château Rahoul Blanc, Graves, 2015 75cl

    A fantastic blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc the nose is wonderfully expressive with notes of grapefruit, pear and a touch of fennel for added complexity. The palate has pleasing depth of fruit with citrus and pear being particularly prominent and even some vanilla notes which are most likely a product of fermentation taking place in oak.

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  2. Château Kirwan, Margaux

    Château Kirwan, Margaux, 2000 75cl

    Classic high quality claret that has plenty of aging potential due to its balance of delicate subtlety and sturdy structure. The palate is complex and the finish lasting but the best is still to come from this vintage.

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  3. Château Rauzan-Ségla, Margaux

    Château Rauzan-Ségla, Margaux, 2004 75cl

    Blackcurrant fruit aromas fill the nose and are supported by hints of berry and even softer hints of spice. this is well structured and well balanced with tannin firming up the palate whilst leaving it silky smooth with a defining elegant finish.

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  4. Château Talbot, Saint Julien, 2004

    Château Talbot, Saint Julien, 2004 75cl

    A wine that is tempting to drink young as it has full fruit aromas and silky tannins but with a high concentration of fruit character this wine will age well and can be cellared for 10 years, if not more, before it shows its best drinking.

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  5. Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Pauillac

    Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Pauillac, 2005 75cl

    Ripe black fruit fills the nose with cassis characteristics developing and combining beautifully with spicy notes. The palate is full with rich concentration and an intense purity, the wine finishes with class and elegance.

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  6. Château Pichon-Longueville Baron, Paulliac

    Château Pichon-Longueville Baron, Paulliac, 2005 75cl

    Aromas of black cherry and spice hint at the power to come on the palate. This is a rich wine that maintains the smoothest of textures despite its robust qualities and elegantly persistent finish. This is Paulliac exactly a it should be!

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  7. Château Talbot, Saint Julien, 2005

    Château Talbot, Saint Julien, 2005 75cl

    Like most 2005 clarets this is showing great character now but will also age well, we’re still not sure when this vintage will peak. Generous cherry and blackcurrant aromas are supported by firm but not imposing tannin and a long finish.

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  8. Chateau Batailley, Pauillac

    Chateau Batailley, Pauillac, 2007 75cl

    Medium to full-bodied, supple textured, layered, rich, and long. The 2007 is slightly lighter than previous vintages, bringing a bit delicacy to this complex wine. This marks the renaissance of this fifth-growth Pauillac that is displaying strong signs of moving into the big leagues.

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  9. Château Cantenac Brown, Margaux

    Château Cantenac Brown, Margaux, 2007 75cl

    This outstanding vintage has all the rich fruit character you'd expect from Marguax with this wine's best arguably still to come. It is a touch more lively than aniticipated with good tannic backbone. A well made wine which we would expect from this third growth estate.

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  10. Château Fourcas Hosten, Listrac Médoc

    Château Fourcas Hosten, Listrac Médoc, 2007 75cl

    Lots of black fruit flavour here with black cherry most detectable. The fruit is supported by supple tannins that make for a medium bodied wine that is ready to go but will happily cellar for another year or so.

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  11. Château Pichon-Longueville Baron, Paulliac

    Château Pichon-Longueville Baron, Paulliac, 2007 75cl

    Blackcurrant aromas are supported by subtle soft spice. The palate brings some blackberry notes with a hint of cedar and tobacco. Whilst not as intense as the 2005, this still retains the elegance of good Paulliac and makes a fantastic alternative if something a touch lighter is required.

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  12. Château la Tour de By, Medoc

    Château la Tour de By, Medoc, 2008 75cl

    An appealing aroma of raspberry and cherry fruits. Good firm structure on the palate with a full yet rounded finish. An elegant well made wine.

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