Don't miss John Gilman's first installment in this series on Bordeaux, "Discover St. Emilion."

The Right Bank commune of St. Emilion is home to two of the wine world’s most dramatic red wine grapes, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. While winemakers in St. Emilion will also use several other grapes to round out their blends, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec or Petit Verdot, it is the two varieties of Cabernet Franc and Merlot that hold sway over the red wine blends of the region and really define its wines.

Each estate has its own historical blend of these two grapes, with Merlot playing the predominant role at one property and Cabernet Franc making up the majority of the blend at another châteaux, and so it is really necessary to discuss the characteristics of both Merlot and Cabernet Franc when discussing the wines of St. Emilion.