The north (or right) bank of the Dordogne River includes the prestigious appellations of Pomerol and St-Émilion, as well as lesser-known (and generally less expensive) satellite appellations such as Lussac-St-Émilion, Fronsac and Lalande-de-Pomerol. Merlot is the key grape of the right bank, although most wines are blends of Merlot and Cabernet Franc and/or Cabernet Sauvignon. Right bank reds tend to be more luscious and less austere on the whole than those of the left bank, with black cherry and plum flavors and often a peppery spiciness.

Right-bank wines’ ripe generosity of flavor (a characteristic of Merlot) makes them pair especially well with rich meats, such as Marcia Kiesel’s succulent slow-roasted lamb shanks. Cabernet Franc’s light green edge often makes these wines a fine partner for vegetable side dishes as well.

5 Right Bank Wine Values

2003 Château Bel-Air Lussac-St-Émilion ($18)

Fresh tobacco and cherry scents rise from this wine, which has a subtly chalky finish.

2005 Château Lagarosse ($18)

A 17th-century château in the up-and-coming Premières Côtes de Bordeaux region produces this smoky red.

2005 Château La Grande Clotte ($22)

This ripe, rich wine comes from vineyards owned by superstar winemaker Michel Rolland and his winemaker wife, Dany.

2003 Château Lyonnat ($22)

From one of the oldest estates in Lussac-St-Émilion, this full-bodied Merlot-based wine is lush and dark.

2003 Christian Moueix Pomerol ($23)

Christian Moueix of the famed Château Pétrus buys grapes from all across Pomerol for this potent, complex wine.

Video: Tour of Bordeaux