Bordeaux has always been a bit of a confusing region. Thanks to the classification of 1855 (which categorized the first through fifth growths of the Medoc) and the 57 distinct appellations (or is it 58 or 59?), navigating Bordeaux has always seemed like a task best left to the wine professionals. But luckily for all of us, Bordeaux recently got a lot easier to understand!

Four of the best regions for high quality, value priced wines have joined together under the banner "Côtes de Bordeaux." The regions -- Côtes de Blaye, Côtes de Castillon, Côtes de Francs, and Premières Côtes de Bordeaux -- all produce Merlot-based wines that are styled for early approachability. These are fruit-driven wines, but still decidedly Bordeaux. While all of these regions will now fall under the appellation Côtes de Bordeaux, they will not lose their unique character. In fact, the labeling laws for the Côtes de Bordeaux will continue to afford each producer the option of including their more specific geographic location.