AOC, dating from 1937, extends over the left bank of the Garonne, south of Bordeaux, on a 50 km strip of land. All the Graves vineyards, from Bordeaux to Langon, are allowed to produce Graves appellation wines, but most Graves wines come from the area lying between La Brède and Langon, skirting the Barsac and Sauternes appellations. The terrain is made up of Quaternary Period alluvium carried in by the river. This coat of pebbles and stones rests on a sandy substrate or even on pure sand or alios-type sand (a ferrous sand concretion), from which the vine draws the nutrients it needs for the production of fine wines.
The terroir of the wines of Graves has a microclimate which is ideal for the vine. It is protected from bad weather by a thick forest of pine, while the river tempers the excessive summer heat. The surface area planted with red grape varieties has been constantly increasing since the 50's. The Graves appellation covers over 3,800 hectares. Its annual production is 170,000 hectolitres, of which 2/3 are red Graves. The remaining third is split between dry white Graves wine (32,000 hectolitres) and Graves Supérieurs wine (11,000 hectolitres).
The red wines from Graves are made from a well-balanced blend of grape varieties, in which the Cabernet brings aromas and structure and the Merlot, perfume and suppleness. The wines reach their peak between 5 and 10 years, depending on the vintages and the wine estates. The dry white wines from the Graves appellation are elegant and fleshy. Produced from Sémillon, they develop wax and honey notes as well as a natural fat that is not lacking in freshness. Blended with Sauvignon Blanc, whose crisp character and quality of expression are well known, the white wines from Graves express citrus aromas sometimes accompanied by exotic or minty overtones. Barrel-ageing allows them to acquire richness and complexity after a few years. The Graves Supérieurs are sweet white wines with a pronounced bouquet and a long-lingering finish. Boasting a golden yellow hue, they typically show a good balance between acidity and sweetness and, in terms of aromas, develop notes of toast, honey, and sometimes dry fruit. Notable among the large number of wines from Graves: Château Respide-Médeville and Château Méjean.
More informations on the website of the wines of Graves