The Graves appellation certainly does not have the same reputation as its cousins, Saint-Emilion and Médoc. Located just on the edge of Bordeaux, it is home to beautiful châteaux that produce magnificent wines.
Graves wines are the only wines in France to hold the name of their soils: “las Grabas de Bordèus”, is literally the “Gravel of Bordeaux”. The Graves is the oldest appellation in Bordeaux and the particularity of its ‘terroir’ reminds us of the very high quality of its wines.
The Graves owe their name to the poor soils covered with gravels of different sizes, that, when night falls, transfers the sun’s heat that was kept during the day, to the vines. Going from Bordeaux to Langon, the Graves stretches over a large area of land that is 55 kilometers long and 10 kilometers wide. On the west and the south sides of the Graves, the pine forest protects the area from bad weather . The Garonne river on the east side provides milder micro-climate and works a thermo-regulator for the vines.
The northern part of the Graves area is the Pessac-Léognan appellation. Three very prestigious chateaux of the Graves area can be found there. The vines of Château Haut Brion, La Mission Haut-Brion, and Château Pape Clément blossom and mature around Pessac, one of Bordeaux’s closest suburban towns.
Red wines represent two thirds of the appellation’s production. They are produced with equal amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon, which gives the structure with tannins and acidity, and Merlot, bringing fruitiness and smoothness. The white wines, made with Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon are famous for their freshness, their intensity and their floral and citrus fruit aromas, as well as gentle woody aromas when aged in barrels.