Appellations (AOC) of the Graves Region: Cérons, Graves, Graves Supérieures, Pessac-Léognan

South of the city of Bordeaux is the flat and very wooded region of Graves which is the oldest wine region of Bordeaux. Wines from this region are described as elegant, complex, fruity, round, and powerful. The soil is rich in deposits from the Garonne River and has sustained wine growing for over 2000 years. On the left bank of the Garonne, Graves produces both red and white wines, the red being the superior of the two. The most basic Graves is just called "Graves". Expect particularly excellent wines in the Pessac-Léognan (Chateaux Haut-Brion, La Louvière, and Pape-Clément) , the northern region, and very near the city of Bordeaux. You’ll discover many of these local châteaux on your tour of Graves.

Graves was the first to see their fine clarets shipped to England in the 1700’s. The châteaux produce powerful reds and superb dry whites. Of particular note is famous Château De La Brède, once the home of Montesquieu (1689-1755) one of the foremost thinkers, writers, and member of parliamentary aristocracy in France. His impressive Château is surrounded by a moat and the grounds and vineyards are well worth discovering. You have the opportunity to visit his apartments, his study and elegant library with vaulted ceilings and frescos. Quick to realize the importance of good marketing Montesquieu designed an English-style park in honour of the English who bought his wines.

Of particular note is Pessac-Léognan which is a Graves appellation with its own distinct soil that has attracted much investment and innovative wine making from young winemakers these past few years resulting in excellent wines. Created in 1987, the Pessac-Leognan appellation is in the northern part of Graves and host to some historic Graves Châteaux such as Château Haut-Brion. In fact, all eight Cru Classé Chateaux in the Graves region are located in Pessac-Leognan. The red wines are a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. 

Pessac Leognan also produces more excellent white wines than any other area in Bordeaux with the exception of Entre-Deux-Mers. This is a wonderful area to explore for historic sites, beautiful small villages, very picturesque terrain and best of all, is easy to reach from Bordeaux. Without a flood of tourists it has a host of charming hotels and restaurants and is also recommended for cycling tours.

Châteaux with tours and tastings are well organized throughout Graves. Maison du Vins, caves and accommodation are also well placed among thesix appellations (AOC) to help you discover your favorite château. Santé!