Bordeaux is the largest wine region in the world with about 117 000 hectares of vineyards, 57 appellations, 9,000 wine-producing châteaux, 13,000 wine growers, 400 traders and sales of 14,5 billion euros annually. With an annual production of over 700 million bottles, Bordeaux produces large quantities of everyday wine as well as very expensive wines.
Because of the wine glut (wine lake), the price squeeze caused by increasingly strong international competition, and vine pull schemes, the number of growers has recently dropped from 14,000 and the area under vine has also decreased significantly.
Both red and white wines are made in Bordeaux. Red Bordeaux is called claret in the United Kingdom.
Red Bordeaux is generally made from a blend of grapes and may be made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and, less commonly in recent years, Carmenere. White Bordeaux is made from Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Muscadelle.
The Bordeaux wine region is divided into subregions including Saint-Émilion, Pomerol, Médoc, and Graves. The area's five 'premier cru' (first growth) red wines (four from Médoc and one, Chateau Haut-Brion, from Graves), established by the Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855 are among the most expensive wines in the world: The first growths are:
Château Ausone - Saint-Emilion (First growth in 1996)
Château Cheval Blanc - Saint-Emilion (First growth in 1996)
Sauternes is a subregion of Graves known for its intensely sweet, white, dessert wines such as Chateau d'Yquem.