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Graves AOC

Graves is a Bordeaux appellation whose name is directly inspired by its terroir. Although the soil of this AOC is a geological mixture, it is mainly composed of gravel. The gravels that make up this soil play an essential role in the growth of the vines, as they act as a thermal regulator by avoiding sudden temperature differences between day and night. During the day, these gravels store heat and release it to the vines at night. The Graves appellation is made up of red and white wines as well as sweet wines, called Graves Supérieures. However, the vast majority of the production concerns red wines. Discover this appellation with Château du Barrailh, Château le Bourdillot, Château des Gravières or Mouton Cadet.

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ALL OUR GRAVES AOC WINES

THE GRAVES AOC APPELLATION

SHALL WE TASTE?

vin rouge

RED WINE

Appearance: The colour is always bright and shimmering, between dark ruby and purple, sometimes with garnet highlights.

Nose: Primary aromas of red and ripe fruit emerge from the bouquet. Floral scents reminiscent of violets are added to the first nose. Notes of pine, cedar, spices, chocolate and vanilla add complexity to the bouquet. Finally, aromas of roasting and smoke are revealed to complete the ensemble

Palate: The attack is frank, the overall impression is rich, typical, with robust and firm tannins, although still well blended. Blackberry aromas are expressed in the mouth in a deep and powerful material. The finish is long, velvety and pleasant.

Ageing Potential : 5 to 15 years.

Serving Temp: 15-17 °C. It is recommended to decant the wine one hour before serving.

vin blanc

WHITE WINE

Appearance: The colour is always clear and brilliant, a lovely pale gold with greenish highlights

Nose: Citrus aromas are expressed on the nose, with occasional notes of exotic fruits. Floral scents such as broom, mint and lemongrass also emerge among musky notes.

Palate: The palate is full-bodied, fleshy, with a natural fatness forming a harmony with the freshness brought by the Sauvignon Blanc. The whole is elegant, fragrant, with a nice acidity and a long finish. A period in barrel brings a richness and aromatic complexity that develops after a few years of ageing.

Ageing Potential : 2 to 6 years.

Serving Temp: 7-10 °C

vin moelleux

SWEET WINE: Graves Supérieures

Appearance: The colour is golden yellow.

Nose: Aromas of candied fruit emerge, accompanied by scents of citrus, peach and acacia.

Palate: The palate is round, ample, with a pleasant freshness. The Graves Supérieures from parcels further north in the AOC have a sweet character, while the wines from parcels further south near Sauternes are more mellow.

Ageing Potential : 5 to 10 years

Serving Temp: 10-13 °C. It is not unusual for deposits to form in bottles of Graves Supérieures. Be careful not to pour this deposit into either the glass or the decanter if you wish to decant the wine.


FOOD & WINE PAIRINGS

vin rouge

RED WINE Delicious with all red meat and game birds. The red Graves also goes wonderfully with any cooked foie gras dish, such as tournedos Rossini, as well as duck or pigeon stuffed with ceps and truffles.

vin blanc

WHITE WINE Delicious with seafood, fish in sauce, white meat or thin slices of smoked salmon.

vin sucre

SWEET WINE Foie gras, blue-veined cheeses, fruity desserts such as an apricot tart


OF NOTE

BORDEAUX WINE: A LITTLE HISTORY

The wines of Graves have been known since the Middle Ages. In the Bordeaux region, it was the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine and King Henry II of England that brought prosperity to the vineyards. The introduction of a law prohibiting all imports of wines from outside Bordeaux until stocks were exhausted contributed to the flourishing of the wine industry. Bordeaux wines developed and prospered, far from any unfair competition. From the 16th to the 18th century, the wines of Graves were the wines of Bordeaux par excellence.

 

At the time, Bordeaux was mainly known for its production of Clairet, which the English loved. The demand for Bordeaux wines quickly increased both nationally and internationally. The cultivable area of the Bordeaux region was limited to a few plots of land located in the city of Bordeaux, commonly known as "La Banlieu". As a result of the strong demand, the cultivable territories expanded beyond La Banlieu. This expansion brought a diversity of soils that were very favourable to the development of the complexity of the wines of this great wine region. Today, the Graves territory extends as far as the Landes forest. This forest not only marks the boundary of the AOC, it also protects it from the elements.

The Graves district produces both classic red and variable dry white wines, the emphasis being, quite rightly on the former. The area under vine where black grapes are cultivated is about 1,900 hectares (4,695 acres), compared with 1,430 hectares (3,534 acres) for white grapes. On the map, Graves looks about the same size as the Medoc, but this is deceptive for its vineyards cover less than one-third of the 10,950 hectares (27,050 acres) under vine in its northern neighbour.

The silky-smooth red wines of the Graves district have been famous since the Middle Ages, when they were protected by local laws that punished those who dared to blend them with other Bordeaux wines. Château Haut-Brion was the only red wine outside the Medoc to be classified in 1855, and such was its reputation that it was placed alongside the First Growths of Latour, Lathe, Mouton and Margaux. Beneath Haut-Brion, there are a few great wines equivalent in quality to Second or Third Growth but only a few The relative lack of superstars in Graves is offset by a htgherbase quality andgreater consistencyof performance. Of the 43 communes in this appellation, Leognan, Talence and Pessac are much the best, after which Martillac and Portet are the most outstanding, followed by Illats and Podensac. All the greatest wines are thus in the north of Graves, amid the urban sprawl of Bordeaux, and this presents something of a problem.

The once-peaceful left bank of the river Garonne is slowly and inexorably disappearing. As the city bursts outwards, more and more rural vineyards are encircled by the concrete jungle, and many quite simply vanish. I wonder how many Bordeaux aficionados who fly directly to the airport in Mérignac stop to consider the cost of such progress? In 1908 there were 30 active winemaking properties in this commune;today there is just one - Château Picque-Caillou. The conurbated communes of Gradignan, Mêrignac, Pessac, Talence, Léognan, Martillac, Cadaujac and Villenave d’Ornan have lost no less than 214 wine châteaux over the same period.

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