How To Tell Quality From Poorly Made Bordeaux Wine

Bordeaux wine is a popular choice for many people across the world. But it’s easy to become overwhelmed when trying to determine which wines are high quality and which ones have been poorly made.

In this article, we’ll look at how you can tell the difference between good and bad Bordeaux wine. We’ll discuss factors such as appearance, aroma, taste and more so that you can make an informed decision about what bottle of Bordeaux to purchase.

Read on to learn more!

Recognizing Quality Bordeaux Wine

Tasting Bordeaux wine is like taking a journey through time and place. Every sip contains centuries of winemaking tradition that transports the taster to vineyards in France, where the grapes were grown and harvested for this particular bottle. To truly appreciate its complexity, it’s important to recognize quality Bordeaux wines from those of lesser caliber.

Aromas are an essential component when determining the quality of a Bordeaux wine. A well-made one should have strong yet pleasant aromas reminiscent of dark berry fruits, such as blackcurrants or plums, with subtle hints of spice and herbs. Its smell can also allude to tobacco or cedar wood which often come from aging in oak barrels. If there is any hint of vinegar or sourness, then chances are the wine has gone bad – meaning it was not made correctly nor aged properly.

The taste profile will further confirm whether you’re drinking a good Bordeaux or not. It should be full bodied and balanced with smooth tannins mellowed out by ripe fruit flavors along with some earthy notes coming from the terroir (the soil). The finish should linger on the palate but without being too heavy or overwhelming at any point throughout your tasting experience. Without these elements present, it may be a sign that you’ve got yourself an inferior bottle of Bordeaux wine.

Moving forward into examining color and clarity gives us another chance to assess its overall quality.

Examining Color And Clarity

Examining the color and clarity of a Bordeaux wine is essential for determining its quality. The hue should have a deep, dark red or purple color that is consistent throughout the glass. Opacity can range from light to dense, depending on the wine’s age, but it should still be translucent enough to see through easily. Additionally, sediment should not be present in any form when pouring a younger bottle; if there are particles at the bottom of an older bottle, they should remain undisturbed upon pouring:

A good Bordeaux will have a deep hue and even consistency throughout the glass.

Clarity ranges from light to dense according to age.

Sediment in an older bottle shouldn’t disperse upon pouring.

It is also important to consider swirlability – how easy it is to move around inside the glass – as this indicates how well integrated and balanced the tannins are.

With these elements taken into consideration, you’ll be able to make better decisions about which wines are worth buying. Now we turn our attention towards noting aromas and flavors.

Noting Aromas And Flavors

Once you have examined the color and clarity of your Bordeaux wine, it’s time to move on to noting aromas and flavors.

To do this, swirl the glass gently in a circular motion and take a couple of good deep sniffs. This will help you identify the particular aroma or bouquet of your Bordeaux. You should be able to detect fruity notes such as blackberry, cherry or plum; herbal notes such as tobacco or thyme; floral notes like roses or violets; spice notes like ginger, cinnamon or nutmeg; mineral tones such as graphite, wet stone or steel; and even some animal scents like leather or game.

The next step is tasting the wine for flavor profile.

Start by taking small sips rather than one big gulp so that you can really pick up on all its nuances. As with aromas, there are many potential fruit flavors including brambleberries, currants and raspberries as well as herbal elements such as bay leaf or eucalyptus. Some wines may also show off their earthy side with mushroomy tastes while others could contain toastiness from barrel aging during production.

All these components together make up what distinguishes quality Bordeaux wines from those made poorly.

To assess how the mouthfeel and finish complete the overall experience of the wine, sip slowly and pay attention to how it feels in your mouth: does it feel light-bodied? Medium-bodied? Or full-bodied? Is there any tannin present? Tannins give dryness to red wines which helps create complexity but too much results in bitterness that isn’t pleasant. Is there acidity present? Acidity gives vibrancy to white wines however if there’s too much it can taste unpleasantly sour.

When finished drinking note whether your last impression was short (lasting only seconds) medium (lasts several minutes) long (can linger hours after drinking).

These variables provide insight into how well-made your Bordeaux really is – something worth considering before purchasing another bottle!

Assessing Mouthfeel And Finish

The art of tasting wine is like a performance: you must be able to pick up on the subtle nuances that go into creating an exceptional bordeaux. To truly appreciate its quality, one must assess not only taste but also mouthfeel and finish.

In an auditorium filled with attentive critics, take a sip and let it linger in your mouth for a few seconds. Feel the structure of tannins caressing your tongue as if they were a delicate brushstroke painting an invisible canvas. Take note of how velvety or coarse each flavor feels; this will give you insight into what distinguishes good from bad wines.

Once you’ve identified these qualities, try to recall them after swallowing. A well-crafted bottle will leave behind smooth notes of spice while leaving a pleasant sensation on the back of your throat.

An inferior vintage won’t have such refined characteristics, instead being sharp and bitter on the palate due to poor winemaking processes. By studying both the sensations before and after drinking, you can begin to understand which bottles are worth savoring –– and which ones should be avoided at all costs.

With this knowledge comes the ability to determine whether a bordeaux is made with care or hastily thrown together without much thought given to quality control. Moving forward we’ll focus more closely on discerning common faults in order to make sure our selection is free from any imperfections.

Checking For Common Faults

When tasting a Bordeaux wine, it is important to check for common faults. Poorly made wines can have off-putting aromas and tastes that will ruin the experience of drinking them.

The first step in evaluating a Bordeaux wine is to assess its visual characteristics such as color, clarity and intensity. If the wine has an unusual or cloudy appearance this could be a sign of poor quality production processes.

Next, take time to smell the wine carefully. Pay attention to any unpleasant odors like vinegar or mustiness which could indicate a flaw in fermentation or storage conditions. In addition, try swishing the wine around your mouth before swallowing; bad tannins or harshness may suggest there are problems with the winemaking process.

Lastly, taste the acidity of the wine: if too high then it was most likely not given enough time for aging prior to bottling.

Finally, evaluate how well each component – fruit flavors, oak influence, body and length – complement one another and contribute to overall balance. Poorly made Bordeaux wines tend to lack complexity due to flaws in their production methods; they often create unbalanced flavors that do not linger on the palate long enough for you to enjoy them fully.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Ideal Serving Temperature For A Bordeaux Wine?

When it comes to serving a Bordeaux wine, the ideal temperature is typically between 12 and 18 degrees Celsius.

This allows for the flavor of the wine to reach its fullest potential while still allowing drinkers to enjoy it comfortably.

Serving too warm can cause some of the more subtle flavors in the wine to be lost, and serving too cold will mask many of its finer characteristics altogether.

Ultimately, finding an optimal balance between taste and comfort should be your goal when deciding on a temperature for your Bordeaux!

What Is The Best Way To Store A Bordeaux Wine?

Storing a bordeaux wine properly is essential to preserve its quality and ensure it can be enjoyed at its best.

It should ideally be kept in a cool, dark place away from any direct sunlight or heat source. The bottle should also be stored on its side so that the cork stays moist, preventing air from entering the bottle and oxidizing the wine.

A humidity level of around 50-70% is preferred for optimal storage, as well as temperatures between 10-15°C (50-60°F). Finally, never store your bordeaux wines with strong odors nearby, such as garlic or onions, which could affect the aroma of your bottles over time.

What Is The Average Price Range For Quality Bordeaux Wines?

The price of quality Bordeaux wines can be compared to a secret garden, hidden away from the prying eyes of those who don’t know what they’re looking for.

It ranges between $25 and $200 depending on the vintage, producer, appellation and other factors.

But one thing that remains consistent is that if you invest in quality Bordeaux wine, it will reward you with its rich flavor profile and complexity – something that cannot be found in poorly made varieties.

Are There Any Notable Bordeaux Wine Producers To Watch Out For?

When it comes to quality Bordeaux wine, there are several notable producers that people should keep an eye out for.

Château Margaux is one of the most iconic wineries in all of France, producing some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines available on the market today.

Other top producers include Château Mouton Rothschild and Château Latour – both renowned for their exceptional quality and high prices.

With these examples as a guide, you can be sure to find quality Bordeaux wine from reputable producers.

What Are The Differences Between Red And White Bordeaux Wines?

Bordeaux wines come in both red and white varieties, with each type having a distinct flavor profile.

Red Bordeaux is typically made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc grapes while white Bordeaux is usually crafted from Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.

The most notable difference between the two types of wine lies in their color – reds are dark and full-bodied while whites often appear pale yellow or greenish in hue.

Reds tend to exhibit more tannin than whites due to the increased contact time with grape skins during fermentation.

Additionally, reds also boast higher levels of antioxidants which makes them known for being longer lived when stored correctly.


It’s clear that Bordeaux wines are complex and require some knowledge to evaluate. Knowing the ideal serving temperature, how to store a bottle properly, and which producers to watch out for can help you find quality bottles.

Plus, understanding the differences between red and white Bordeaux will let you pick the perfect one for your taste buds.

With this information in mind, it’s easy to see why so many people think of these wines as special – they’re worth seeking out!

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