French Bordeaux: Right Blank or Left Bank

Right Bank

The Right Bank, or the Libournais region, primarily bears Merlot plants, along with a hefty dose of Cabernet Franc and smaller quantities of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petite Verdot. Generally, what you’ll find in the Right Bank wine is softer, fruitier flavors that make for bottles you don’t have to wait to start drinking.

Places to know: Petrus, Cheval Blanc, Le Pin, St. Emilion

Left Bank

Split into the Médoc and Graves regions, the Left Bank is mostly planted with Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, although Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot, Malbec, and Merlot will also make appearances. The plants still grow in limestone, but their roots have to work through a gravelly topsoil to get to the soil below — the more a vine works for its nutrients, the more personality it has, meaning these will be more complex and more tannic than their Right Bank counterparts.

Places to know: Chateaux Margaux, Lafite, Mouton Rothschild

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