Greetings VinoVossers! The region of Bordeaux is equally famous for its fine wines as it is for the high prices they sell for. Join us on a journey through the most famous appellations of Bordeaux to see which subregion producers the most expensive wines.

The Left And Right Banks — Equally Fine, Equally Expensive, Different Grapes

Human settlement often occurs by rivers allowing access to water and trade. The city of Bordeaux was established on banks of the Garonne river which divides its wine producing area in two. The different sides of the river, are known as the Left and Right bank and differ in the composition of their vineyards. The Left Bank produces fine wines dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon while the expense gems of the Right Bank are focused on Merlot.

Bordeaux sub-region wines (drawing by Krystal Wen)

The Fine Wines Of The Left Bank

From south to north, the fine wine producing appellations of the Left Bank are:

  • Pessac-Leognan
  • Margaux
  • Saint Julien
  • Pauillac
  • Saint Estephe


The region of Pessac-Leognan was separated from the surrounding region of Graves in 1987 based on its history of producing the finest wines in the area that sold at more expensive prices. Pessac-Leognan is unusual in Bordeaux in that it is equally famous for making both fine red wines and fine white wines making it a reliable region to choose no matter what colour wine you feel like drinking. The most expensive wine from Pessac-Leognan is the white wine from Chateau Haut Brion which retails for $950 per bottle.


Margaux makes some of the most elegant fine wines in all of Bordeaux. A fine Margaux is sophisticated, with a heady perfume on the nose and a gossamer-like fineness to the tannins. The most famous of all Margaux wines is that of the first growth Chateau Margaux which is equally known for it high quality and expensive price selling for an average price of $780.

Saint Julien

The ageworthy fine wines of Saint Julien always show great poise and finesse in their balance between their concentrated blackcurrant fruit and firm tannins.Their highly complex nature with notes of cigar box is what justifies their expensive price tags with Chateau Leoville-Las Cases selling for $290 per bottle on average.


The fine wines of Pauillac are powerful, exhibiting both a ripe generosity of fruit and grippy tannins. These wines are worth the expense, performing just as well at the dinner table as they do in the cellar, aging superbly to display a graphite-like minerality. Bottles from the famous Chateau Mouton Rothschild sell for around $1,000 each.

Saint Estephe

Saint Estephe is the most northerly of the Medoc appellations, making it the coolest. The cooler location gives these fine wines a more austere style with firm tannins. The tannic structure makes the wines long lived and mature vintages of the fabled Chateau Montrose can sell for $200 per bottle or more.

The Expensive Jewels Of The Right Bank

While there are five major appellations on the Left Bank, the Right Bank is home to just two. The very fine wines that they make have enabled they to achieve equal fame despite being fewer in number and equally expensive price tags:

  • Saint Emilion
  • Pomerol

Saint Emilion

The scenic Saint Emilion is a UNESCO Heritage site. The Merlot based fine wines of Saint Emilion have a plush, mouth-filling mid-palate along with a chalky mineral finish that brings a sense of freshness to the wine. The finest wines, from the Grand Cru Classé such as Chateau Ausone retail for $800 on average.


Pomerol is the home of opulence. The wines of Pomerol exhibit a plush opulence beyond what the wines of neighboring Saint Emilion can regularly achieve, making a Pomerol identifiable by its scale, with chocolate-like opulence, silky texture and ferrous minerality. Unfortunately, Pomerol is of tiny size when compared to Saint Emilion and the limited production of these fine wines leads to expensive prices. Bottles of the celebrated Petrus and the tiny Le Pin both sell in excess of $4,500 each.

by Matthew Cocks

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