Fine wine from Bordeaux France. The success of Bordeaux as a wine-growing region is closely related to its particular climate and geography. Its location at a latitude of 45 degrees north (halfway between the equator and the North Pole) provides ideal climatic conditions for viticulture. Warm summers and relatively mild (if wet) winters mean the climate is particularly well suited to growing late-ripening varieties. The vast expanse of pine forest to the south (La Foret des Landes) protects Bordeaux from strong, salt-bearing winds coming off the Atlantic Ocean, although there is a risk of still winter air getting trapped and bringing frost to the Bordelais vineyards. The region's proximity to large masses of water, such as the Atlantic Ocean, the Gironde Estuary and the Garonne and Dordogne rivers, helps to moderate climatic extremes.
Merlot dominates the red-grape plantings throughout Bordeaux, closely followed by Cabernet Sauvignon and then Cabernet Franc. Petit Verdot, Malbec and the rarely seen Carmenere are also permitted. When used in combination, these varieties are variously referred to as a Bordeaux Blend, Claret or Meritage (used mainly in the United States). Bordeaux's white wines are generally blends of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle, although Ondenc, Mauzac, Merlot Blanc, Ugni Blanc and Colombard are also sanctioned within this region.