Graves/Pessac Leognan Bordeaux Wine Guide Chateau Listings
Graves, Pessac Leognan Bordeaux Wine Guide with a history of the appellation, a look at the character and style of all the best wines, producer and chateaux listings with links to pages on every important property in the Graves, Pessac Leognan Bordeaux wine region with wine tasting notes, histories of the properties, images, technical information and Bordeaux wine buying tips for all the best wines and producers in the Pessac Leognan appellation.
If you want to read about other Bordeaux wine producers in different Bordeaux appellations: Links to all Bordeaux Wine Producer Profiles If you are interested in learning more about Bordeaux wine, we offer numerous articles on everything about Bordeaux wine, from a history of the Bordeaux region and the famous 1855 Classification, the grapes used to produce Bordeaux wine and even vintage summaries, covering Bordeaux wine from 1900 to today: All About Bordeaux Wine Guide
The links located to the left of the page lead to the best Graves Pessac Leognan wines and their producers. You can read wine tasting notes , detailed profiles and detailed histories of all the top estates, details on the wines, wine making, soils and other important information, as well as view images of the following top Bordeaux value wine producers:
- Allary Haut Brion
- Carmes Haut Brion
- Clos Marsalette
- de Fieuzal
- Haut Bailly
- Haut Bergey
- La Louviere
- Laville Haut Brion
- La Mission Haut Brion
- La Tour Haut Brion
- LaTour Martillac
- Larrivet Haut Brion
- Le Thil
- Liber Pater
- Malartic Lagraviere
- Pape Clement
- Passion Haut Brion
- Smith Haut Lafitte
Graves is the area many wine historians cite as the appellation the Romans first planted grapes to produce Bordeaux wine close to 2,000 years ago. Although the inhabitants of Margaux take exception to that. It’s amazing to consider that two thousand years ago, the Romans knew about the unique terroir in the region that would later become Pessac Leognan.
The region takes its name from the areas, unique soils that consist of deep layers of gravel and stone. Below the gravel and pebble laden surface, layers of sand, hardpan and clay can be found. But much of the quality from this Bordeaux wine appellation is also shaped by the pine tree forests that inhabit the region. The trees assist in creating the unique, micro climate of the commune by protecting the vines from the humidity and winds. Another important consideration that makes the Graves Pessac Leognan different from all the other Bordeaux wine appellations is, this is the only Bordeaux region making large quantities of world class red and white Bordeaux wine.
With the exception of Chateau Haut Brion, which was classed in the 1855 Bordeaux Classification as a First Growth, the remaining producers from the Graves area were excluded from the original classification of 1855. That situation was finally rectified in 1953 when the wines from the area of Graves were officially classified. Although it took several more years before the official 1959 Graves Classifications was finalized. The classification took place when all the chateaux in the area were considered a part of Graves, meaning this was well in advance of the creation of Pessac Leognan as a unique and separate AOC appellation. Pessac Leognan as an appellation was only created in September 1987.
The most famous wine of the region, Haut Brion grew from the desire of the original owner, Jean de Pontac who created the famous chateau by purchasing land on a parcel by parcel basis to create the vineyards. Haut Brion was the first Bordeaux wine producer to export and promote their own brand when they opened a London tavern which served Haut Brion wine exclusively! That took place in 1660!
By that time, the wine of Chateau Haut Brion was already famous. Since 1663, when Samuel Pepys first write about Chateau Haut Brion, the chateau has remained the finest wine from the region as well as a serious contender for the best wine in Bordeaux. Pepys, possibly the Robert Parker of his day wrote in his diary, “Friday 10th April 1663… Here we drank a sort of French wine, called Ho Bryan, that hath a good and most particular taste that I never met with”. That comment makes Pepys the first wine critic as well as the first writer to mention Haut-Brion and the wines of Graves. Shortly after that, the wine of Haut Brion became immensely popular with wealthy wine consumers.
Because of the appellations geographical location, which is situated near the city center, the town of Pessac and the Bordeaux airport, the areas vineyards have been reduced over the last century. Yet, Pessac Leogan has gotten bigger. Close to 500 hectares were under vine in 1975. Today, Pessac Leognan has 1,199 hectares under vine. But the area becomes considerable larger when you consider that Graves covers an additional 3,098 hectares! The Pessac Leognan appellation produces close to 8 million bottles of Bordeaux wine per year. 80% of those bottles are red wine, the remaining 20% are white Bordeaux. The white wine from Pessac Leognan represents close to 10% of all white wine produced throughout the entire Bordeaux appellation.
Sauvignon Blanc and Semilion are the grapes used for the regions dry white Bordeaux wine. However, Muscadelle and Sauvignon Gris are planted in vineyards as well. The laws of the appellation dictate that a minimum of 25% Sauvignon Blanc must be included in the blend. The white wines of Pessac Leognan are produced in a wide range of styles ranging from light with citrus character, to stellar expressions of terroir with complex perfumes of flowers, citrus, spice, minerals and honey. The best white wines from the region can age for decades.
The red wines from Graves Pessac Leognan are some of the finest wines in the world. Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States considered the wines of Chateau Haut Brion to be special. Three centuries later, that is still the case. The red grapes used in the red Bordeaux wine from Pessac Leognan are mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. However, there are also small plantings of Malbec and Carmenere as well.
Like all the regions of Bordeaux, Pessac Leognan is also experiencing a renascence in quality. While it’s no surprise to note that Chateau Haut Brion and Chateau La Mission Haut Brion are on top of their game, Chateau Haut Bailly, Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, Domaine de Chevalier and others have never made wine at the level they are producing today!
Pessac Leognan is also an area for Bordeaux value wine lovers to consider, as numerous small estates are making very fine wines that sell for $30 and less, for both red and white Bordeaux wine.
The wines from Pessac Leognan and Graves are produced in a myriad of styles ranging from simple wines meant to be enjoyed in their youth, to full-bodied, rich, elegant wines redolent of smoke, tobacco, cassis, dark cherry, leather, tar and truffle flavors with textures of silk and velvet. The best red wines of the appellation can age for decades, and in some cases over 100 years!