The Graves area in the region Bordeaux is an ancient wine-growing region. The Roman vineyards and the Roman author established it here as early as the 1st century Columella (1st century AD) wrote enthusiastically about the aging wines. Around the year 1300, the Archbishop of Bordeaux (later Pope Clement V) founded a winery that was named Château Pape-Clement still exists today. The fame of Bordeaux was co-founded by the wines from Graves. The area under vines was around 10,000 hectares at the end of the 19th century, but many vineyards have been lost to the growth of the city of Bordeaux over the past hundred years. Even today, Graves still encompasses the urban area (the Châteaux Haut-Brion, La Mission and Les Carmes are in a suburb). The vineyards stretch 50 kilometers south from Bordeaux and cover around 4,650 hectares, of which the Graves regional appellation covers around 3,000 hectares. The three appellations in the south are Barsac, Cérons and Sauterne embedded. The area north of Haut-Graves, where all the better châteaux are located, became an appellation in 1987 Pessac-Léognan,
The name Graves only came up in the Middle Ages and is derived from the gravelly soil (terre graveleuse). The pebbles are collected and placed next to the vines. They store the heat of the sun during the day and give off the heat to the grapes until late at night. This promotes the ripening process in a natural way and increases the sugar content of the grapes. Another specialty is the rose bushes that are planted at the end of each row of vines. In the past, this was not done for optical reasons, but rather diseases (e.g. mildew ) are displayed early (but is certainly no longer efficient enough today). Two thirds are red and one third white grape varieties. Graves is the only region in France that produces 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 mostly dry and fresh. The red wines are made from the varieties Cabernet Sauvignon. Cabernet Franc and Merlot produced, whereby the cuvées of the individual châteaux are very different. They are the typical grape varieties of the so-called Rive gauche (left bank).
The Graves Supérieures appellation with 500 hectares mostly refers to sweet but also dry white wines with a slightly higher alcohol content. The only one not in Médoc winery Château Haut-Brion in the Bordeaux classification 1855 included in the list of the best 61 châteaux. In 1953 and 1959 a separate classification for red and white wines was introduced for Graves (this also contains Haut-Brion). There is no hierarchy, just an alphabetical order. These châteaux are now all in the sub-area separated in 1987 Pessac-Léognan, The name of the wines is "Cru Classé des Graves":