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ask dr. vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs. You can also follow me on Twitter: @AskDrVinny.

Dear Dr. Vinny,

Which Bordeaux regions' wines are more Cabernet-based versus Merlot-based?

—Robert W., Yardley, Penn.

Dear Robert,

When people talk about Bordeaux, you’ll often hear them talk about “banks,” and not just because the wines can be so expensive. There’s a main river that runs through Bordeaux named the Gironde, and grapes are planted on either the Left Bank or the Right Bank of the river.

Left Bank vineyards are the ones dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, while Merlot is planted predominately on the Right Bank.

The Left Bank is dominated by the Médoc district and the Graves district. In the Right Bank you mostly hear about Pomerol and St.-Emillon. Of course, both banks have several subregions, and it might make more sense if you stare at a map for a while.

—Dr. Vinny

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