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Graves Wine Region
Graves Wine Region

Graves Wine Region

Located on the Left Bank of the Garonne River, the Graves wine region is known for turning out some of Bordeaux’s finest red, white, and sweet wines. Confusingly, the Graves appellation is only one part of the greater Graves region, which also encompasses top appellations like Sauternes and Pessac-Léognan.

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Graves, Graves, Bordeaux

The basics

Known and named for its distinct, gravelly soil, Graves has been a major winemaking hub since the Middle Ages, when it first became known for its claret. Now considered the birthplace of Bordeaux’s high-caliber red wines, Graves has had a lofty reputation for centuries. Today, the region is celebrated both for its red wines (primarily cabernet sauvignon and merlot, but also cabernet franc, petit verdot, and malbec) and its whites (made from sauvignon blanc and semillon). The Sauternes, Barsac, and Cérons appellations within the greater region are also esteemed for their dessert wines.

The Graves wine region features on numerous wine-themed tours of the Bordeaux region. Book a half-day tour for an efficient taster or a full-day tour to really indulge. Some itineraries also pair Graves with nearby regions like the Médoc and Saint-Émilion.

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Things to know before you go

  • Graves’ red wines are profoundly potent and include notes of tobacco, blackcurrant, smoke, and earth; many can also stand up to long periods of cellar aging.
  • Graves wines typically come with a hefty price tag; for a more affordable taste of the region, look for bottles labeled “Graves AOC,” the area’s broadest appellation.
  • Like your wine on the sweet side? Sauternes makes some of the world’s most acclaimed sweet wines using the semillon, sauvignon blanc, and muscadelle grapes.
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How to get there

The Graves wine region is located just southwest of Bordeaux proper, on the Garonne’s Left Bank. Many wineries are located within 15 to 45 minutes of the city by car; travel via the E62. Alternatively, guided tours make visiting the region even simpler.

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Trip ideas

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When to get there

The Graves wine region is popular throughout the year but is at its busiest from late August to September, when the harvest is in full swing. Note that only select wineries are open to visitors and that their hours and tasting options differ; it’s advised to research specifics in advance.

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The Top Wineries in Graves

The Graves wine region is home to many of France’s most esteemed wineries, including Premier Cru and Premier Cru Supérieur producers. If you want to taste the best of the region, look for Château Haut-Brion (located in the Pessac-Léognan appellation, and one of the world’s top wineries), Château d’Yquem (famed for its world-class Sauternes dessert wines), and La Mission Haut Brion (whose reputation has grown in recent years).

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What are the nearest attractions to Graves Wine Region?
Q:
What else should I know about attractions in Bordeaux?
A:
As well as visiting the Graves Wine Region, check out these trip ideas to make the most of your visit: