Hundreds of books have been written on Bordeaux; its history (temporarily ruled by the English), its wines (one of the biggest wine regions in the world, wines ranging from large quantities of everyday table wine, to some of the most expensive and prestigious wines in the world), its Terroir (mainly alluvial soil made of stones and debris), its climate (hot but exposed to maritime weather which can create havoc at the time of harvest), and finally, its people (dynasties of negociants or aristocratic owners of the most famous Châteaux).
Bordeaux consists of relatively plain topography: flat and mostly devoid of trees. Two long rivers, the Garonnne and Dordogne, split the region in half and then join together into the Gironde River that flows into the Atlantic Ocean.
Despite the plain character of the landscape, this region consists of the exact elements that produce wines of finesse, subtly and ageing. The moderate climate from the Atlantic and rivers creates a warming effect, protecting Bordeaux from frost. The gravel soil drains rain water away from the vine roots, allowing the damp resistant Cabernet Sauvignon grape to fully mature.
Bordeaux is subject to variable vintages, some hot and dry, and some very wet and cool. To combat this inconsistency, Bordeaux blends together a variety of grapes that grow and mature at different stages. Therefore, a Bordeaux red may consist of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc (with small percentages of Petit Verdot and Malbec in some vineyards). A Bordeaux white is often the blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. These blends create well-balanced wines with good acidity, minerality and fruit character.
One important fact of the Bordeaux wine region compared to, say Burgundy, is that it is the land of blending. To the best of my knowledge, virtually no Bordeaux red or white wine is made with one single grape; it is always a complex blend of at least two, more frequently three varietals for the reds as well as the whites. Bordeaux is a life-long love affair. Enjoy the journey.