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Graves and Pessac-Léognan

Graves to the south of the city, also known as the cradle of Bordeaux, produces characterful red wines and special-format dry whites.

Geography

Beginning in the middle of Greater Bordeaux, the Graves area extends some 60 kilometres south to Langon and beyond, as a band from 10 to 15 kilometres wide. It has an area of 3,600 hectares. It is bordered by the Garonne River in the west, by extensive pine forests in the east. The wine areas close to Bordeaux joined together in 1986 to form the Pessac-Léognan communal appellation – home to all 1,953 of the area's classified wineries.

Terroir

Although the hilltops of lean gravel called “Croupes de Graves" dominate near the city, as in the Haut-Médoc, they are often mixed with sand. Further south, gravel soils mix with (red) sand over lime or loam over lime.

Varieties

Red wine: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc.White wine: Sémillon, Sauvignon blanc, Muscadelle

Style

The Cru Classés reds of Pessac-Léognan, characterized by elegance and harmony, combine the suppleness of a Saint-Emilion with the power of a Médoc. The south of the Graves area produces both fruity wines for quick consumption and particularly strong, juicy red wines for laying down. This is also true of the dry white wines, some of which are palatable and fresh while others are well-structured, full-bodied and dense.

Best age for drinking

1-4 years (basic reds and whites)6-20 years (quality reds and whites for laying down)

Popular wines from Bordeaux – Graves & Pessac-Léognan