Haut Medoc Bordeaux Wine Guide with a history of the appellation, information on the style and character of the best wines, producer and chateaux listings with links to pages on every important property from the top chateaux in the Haut Medoc, Bordeaux wine region with wine tasting notes, histories of the properties, images, technical information and Bordeaux wine buying tips for the best wines and top chateau in the Haut Medoc appellation as well in the communes of Listrac, Moulis and the Medoc.
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 Haut Medoc wines and their producers. You can read wine tasting notes, detailed profiles and histories of the 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 from the Left Bank in the Haut Medoc appellation:
The Haut Medoc Bordeaux wine appellation is massive. In fact, the Haut Medoc appellation is the largest area under vine in the Medoc with a total of 4,198 hectares planted with vines. When you compare this region with the other lesser appellations, because there are so many different terroir and soils in Bordeaux, as well as diverse approaches to wine making, there is no particular style of Bordeaux wine produced here. It’s wide and varied. With hundreds of Chateaux, there are some that push the quality envelope as far as it can go, hoping to produce the best wines possible, while other chateaux are content to simply try selling what they make, simply because it says Bordeaux on the label. While only 5 chateau were included in the 1855 Classification from Haut Medoc, it is home to the majority of Cru Bourgeois classed chateaux.
One important fact to keep in mind is, the Haut Medoc appellation is not the same as the Medoc, which includes not only the Haut Medoc appellation, but all the other important communes in the Left Bank as well, Pauillac, Margaux, St. Estephe and St. Julien. Adding more confusion than clarity, the Medoc is both a commune, with only a few wines of repute, located to the north of the St. Estephe appellation and the large area of the Left Bank we previously referenced. If that’s not enough, to make things even more difficult for the moment, the Medoc is completely different and not to be confused with the area located north of St. Estephe, known as the Bas Medoc. Bas Medoc is a term that is seldom used these days. It ceased to exist at some point in the 1940′s, when the chateaux petitioned for change saying the term Bas Medoc placed them as a commercial disadvantage. Today, the wines from Bas Medoc are listed simply as Medoc on the label. This can be a little difficult to follow for most consumers. Back to the Haut Medoc, the subject at hand.
For the top wines of the Haut Medoc region, the best producers are located closest to the area of the Medoc stretching the north of St. Estephe all the way south to below the Margaux appellation. Because of the massive, sprawling area, differences in terroir, financial capabilities of the chateaux and of course soils play a big part in setting the quality and style of the wines from the Haut Medoc. 2005 was an extraordinary vintage for the appellation. Several of the best producers from Haut Medoc made serious Bordeaux wines of classified growth quality. The wines of Haut Medoc can age and are interesting to add to blind tastings with better known 1855 classified wines from the Meodc.
Once the Haut Medoc appellation was officially created, according to the order made November 14, 1936, to be an Haut Medoc, AOC Bordeaux wine, the wine must come from any of the communes from the Haut Medoc appellation which include: Blanquefort, Le Taillan, Parempuyre, Le Pian, Ludon, Macau, Arsac, Labarde, Avensan, Castelnau, Soussans, Arcins, Moulis, Listrac, Lamarque, Cussac, Saint-Laurent de Medoc, Saint-Sauveur, Cissac, Vertheuil or Saint-Seurin de Cadourne. On this page, you will also from some of the best chateaux located in the Medoc appellation as well.
While there are 21 different communes that make up the Haut Medoc appellation, perhaps the two that stand out above the others for their terroir are, Moulis and Listrac.
Moulis is the smallest appellation in the Medoc with 633 hectares of vines. 53 different estates make wine in Moulis. Moulis is packed with with Cru Bourgeois chateaux. 14 are located in the commune, taking up slightly more than 60% of the entire 633 hectares of vines. The terroir of Moulis is mostly gravel with some clay and limestone in the soil. Chateau Poujeaux and Chateau Chasse Spleen are probably the two finest producers in Moulis.
Listrac has 668 hectares planted with vines. While 74 growers have vineyards in the commune, only 40 are producers. The remainder of the estates sell to cooperatives. Listrac is a later bloomer. The area only became an appellation in 1957. The terroir is mostly gravel with clay, limestone and sand. Interestingly, Listrac has some of the highest elevations in the Medoc at a whopping 141 feet. Chateau Fourcas Borie is the leading producing in Listrac.
The soil of wines from Haut Medoc must feature deposits of Garonne gravel along with some limestone, sand and clay. Interestingly, a few of the appellations vineyards are located close to the city. Because the Haut Medoc covers so much ground, there is a wide diversity of terroir’s, micro climates and soils. Those differences are why we experience such a wide display of styles in the wines. To get an idea on how the soil and terroir of the Haut Medoc compares to the other important appellations in Bordeaux; The terroir and soil of Bordeaux
This is to the exclusion of all plots situated on modern alluvial soils and sand over impermeable sub-soils. The wines from Haut Medoc must be made from specific grape varieties, have minimum sugar content, alcoholic strength of at least 10% and yields must be limited. The five main Bordeaux varietals for red wine are grown in the region; Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. White Bordeaux wine is also produced in the Haut Medoc from Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, although other grape varieties are allowed by law.
The current boundaries of the Haut Medoc AOC date from 1935. However, the area was seen as a source for fine Bordeaux wine as far back as 1815. Haut Medoc covers a massive area from the stream at Blanquefort to Saint-Seurin de Cadourne. The appellation is 60 km of land that traverses different village appellations and crosses over twenty communes. This diversity leads to a wine range of Bordeaux wines and styles that are only found in the Haut Medoc appellation. Plus, because the Haut Medoc does not have the same level of cachet as the Medoc, consumers can often get a lot more bang for the buck!