The area Graves in the region Bordeaux is an ancient winegrowing area. Already in the 1st century, the Romans established vineyards here and the Roman author Columella (1st century AD) wrote enthusiastically about the aging wines. Around the year 1300, the Archbishop of Bordeaux (later Pope Clement V) founded a vineyard under the name Château Pape-Clément still exists today. The glory of Bordeaux was co-founded by the wines of Graves. At the end of the 19th century, the area under vines was still about 10,000 hectares, but in the last hundred years many vineyards were lost to the growth of the city of Bordeaux. But even today Graves covers the urban area (the Châteaux Haut-Brion, La Mission and Les Carmes lie in a suburb). The vineyards stretch south from Bordeaux 50 kilometers to the south and cover around 4,650, of which the regional Graves appellation covers some 3,000 hectares. As enclaves are the three appellations Barsac in the south, Cérons and Sauterne embedded. The northern area formerly called Haut-Graves area, in which all the better Châteaux are, in 1987 became an appellation Pessac-Léognan,
The name Graves first appeared in the Middle Ages and derives from gravelly soil (terre graveleuse). The pebbles are picked up and placed next to the vines. They store the heat of the sun during the day and release the heat to the grapes until late at night. This naturally promotes the ripening process and increases the sugar content of the grapes. Another special feature is the rose bushes, which are planted at the end of each vine row. In the past, this was not done for visual reasons, but it could be used to treat diseases (eg mildew ) are displayed early (but is certainly not efficient enough today). Two-thirds cultivate red and one-third white grape varieties. Graves is the only region in France to produce exceptional red, white and sweet wines.
The white wines are made from the varieties Sauvignon Blanc. Sémillon with something Muscadelle and Merlot Blanc blended. They are mainly dry and fresh. The red wines are from the varieties Cabernet Sauvignon. Cabernet Franc and Merlot produced, whereby the Cuvées are very different with the individual Châteaux. These are the typical grape varieties of the so-called Rive gauche (left bank).
The appellation Graves Supérieures with 500 hectares usually refers to sweet but also dry white wines with a slightly higher alcohol content. As the only one not in the Médoc lying winery was Château Haut-Brion in the Bordeaux classification 1855 added to the list of the best 61 châteaux. In the years 1953 and 1959 a separate classification for red wines and white wines was introduced for Graves (here also skin Brion is contained). There is no ranking, only an alphabetical order. These châteaux are now all subdivided in 1987 sub-area Pessac-Léognan, The name of the wines is "Cru Classé des Graves":