I'm thinking it would look something like this:
Wines from the left bank (of the Gironde) are primarily Cabernet Sauvignon and the region includes: Medoc, and Graves.
- Medoc includes the northern Medoc as well as the Haut Medoc.
- The celebrated regions of the Haut Medoc include (north to south) St Estephe, Pauillac, St Julien, and Margaux
- Graves includes Pessac-Leognan
- The more specific the appellation, generally the better the wine (i.e. Margaux is much more specific than Haut Medoc. Medoc less than Haut Medoc with Bordeaux and Bordeaux Superieur being the most basic
- In the famous wine classification of 1855 (First Growth, Second Growth etc) only the Chateau from Medoc and one Chateau from Graves (Haut-Brion from Graves) were included.
- In Medoc, the 200 chateaux that were never classified are called the Crus Bourgeois. Quality can range a lot on a wine that puts Crus Bourgeois on the label so pay it no mind.
- In Graves, a small number of Chateaux (16) were classified as Cru Classes in 1953
Wines from the Right Bank are primarily Merlot (sometimes 100%) and the region includes Pomerol and St Emilion.
- St Emilion was classified into 11 Premiers Grands Crus Classes and 53 Grands Crus Classes, revised every decade.
- Pomeral was never classified (many outlying areas were also never classfied)
- Cotes de Bourg and Cotes de Blaye (as well as Cotes de Castillon and Cotes de Francs) are north west of Pomerol and are still right bank wines (Merlot dominant) and are generally for everyday drinking
Generally, I try to choose a bordeaux based on region and of course, factoring in the amount I want to pay.
What would you include in your Bordeaux Cheat Sheet?