The Pessac-Léognan appellation is located in the heart of the Graves region on the Rive gauche of Bordeaux. It was created in 1987 and is spread over ten communes on the south-western outskirts of Bordeaux: Cadaujac, Canéjan, Gradignan, Léognan, Martillac, Mérignac, Pessac, Saint-Médard-d'Eyrans, Talence and Villenave d'Ornon.
Covering an area of 1600 hectares of vines (1300 ha in red and 300 ha in white), the production is on average 67 000 hectoliters for red wines and 15 000 hectoliters for white wines.
It is an appellation that groups together all the Grands Crus Classés of the Graves, each offering different personalities due to the heterogeneity of the gravel soils on which they rest.
Particularly renowned, the wines of Pessac-Léognan are great wines for ageing, both in red and white, being rich, elegant and complex.
What are the characteristics of the Pessac-Léognan appellation?
The vineyard of Pessac-Léognan is located on beautiful gravelly hilltops forming a mamelonne relief, allowing a natural drainage and ideal for the soils. In addition, the gravel stores the heat that it accumulates during the day and gives it back to the grape varieties once night falls, allowing excellent ripening of the grapes. The temperate climate associated with the protection of the Gironde Landes forest contributes to create a microclimate particularly favorable to wines of great finesse.
Several red and white grape varieties flourish in the Pessac-Léognan appellation; in red, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are present in large majority, followed by Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Carménère and Malbec.
- Cabernet Sauvignon is a late ripening grape variety, so it thrives on gravelly soils that allow it to reach optimal ripeness. It brings to the wines their tannic structure and their ageing potential.
- Merlot is very present alongside Cabernet Sauvignon in the blends, bringing roundness and delicious aromas of red and black fruits.
- The Cabernet Franc brings a lot of aromatic freshness, while the Petit Verdot will give color and elegant tannins.
- Carménère and Malbec are present in tiny proportions, and confer color and beautiful fruity and spicy aromas.
In white, Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc express themselves marvelously, followed by Sauvignon Gris and Muscadelle but in small proportion.
- Sémillon is an emblematic Bordeaux grape variety, it brings to the wines a beautiful aromatic as well as a fat and seductive side in mouth.
- The Sauvignon Blanc makes the beautiful part with the Semillon in the assemblies. It brings structure, freshness and fruity intensity to the wines.
- Sauvignon Gris is present in small proportions, offering citrus aromas and notes of spices and toast.
- Muscadelle is a very aromatic grape variety, bringing floral and citrus aromas to wines, as well as roundness.
What are the emblematic properties of the appellation Pessac-Léognan?
The appellation Pessac-Léognan includes all the Grands Crus Classés des Graves, whose classification was established in 1953 with a revision in 1959. There are 14 of them, 12 are classified as red wines but only 8 of them are classified as white. Moreover, it also includes the famous Château Haut-Brion, 1er Grand Cru Classé in 1855 but located in the commune of Pessac.
- In red: Château Haut-Brion, Château Bouscaut, Château Carbonnieux, Domaine de Chevalier, Château de Fieuzal, Château Haut-Bailly, Château Malartic-Lagravière, Château La Mission Haut-Brion, Château Olivier, Château Pape Clément, Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte, Château Latour Martillac
- In white: Château Bouscaut, Château Carbonnieux, Domaine de Chevalier, Château Couhins, Château Couhins-Lurton, Château Malartic-Lagravière, Château Olivier, Château La Tour-Martillac