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Related region
Bordeaux
Related grapes
Cabernet Franc
Cabernet Sauvignon
Carménère
Malbec
Merlot
Petit Verdot
Wineries in this region
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Médoc
Médoc


One could wonder how ground so poor could yield profits from wine to build such fine chateaux. The secret of the vineyards lies in the internal composition and functioning of the gravel mounds. Seeing gravel on the surface and in thick banks in quarries, one might assume the mounds to be gravel throughout. This is not the case. If it were, it would be a sterile sieve, there would be no vines. Closer examination of the gravel however, reveals interbedded layers of clay, salt, and dirty sand. These are the vital organs of gravel viticulture. It is in these fine-grained sediments that roots find moisture and mineral nutrients. Such lensee within the mounds are the deep secrets of the vineyard. The heterogenous occurrence of these vital organs of the gravel mounds explains how the quality of vines may vary vineyard to vineyard.


-Only wines from the defined area
-Only red wines
-Grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Carmenère
-Production: maximum of 50 hl. par ha.

The gravel mounds that are so typical for the Médoc dominate the soil. These mounds afford excellent drainage of water and are loose and airy. Because of their infertility the gravel mounds encourage the vines to send their roots down deep in search of nutrients. These gravel mounds rest on (starfish) limestone (Calcaire à astéries) plateaux.
Limestone Gravel Sand

The Médoc has a maritime climate, caused by the Atlantic. The warm Gulf Stream and the Gironde act as a heat-regulator and moderate the climate. This gives the region mild winters, warm summers, and long, sunny autumns. The region is protected from sea winds by the coastal strip of pine forest which runs almost parallel to the region. The oceanic influence places the region in a very privileged position with few unwelcome extremes of temperature. Much to the concern of the vignerons however, harvest time and the rainy season arrive about the same time. If the rains come early all grapes will not be fully ripened. If the rains come during harvest, the grapes can lose concentration. The record keepers have observed that in any ten-year span there will be, from a climate point of view, three great years, three poor years, and four that are mediocre. Sometimes the normally mild region is rudely reminded of its northern latitude. In February 1956 a hard frost occurred with temperatures below -18 C (0F). There is also the lingering concern that the Saint de Glace may visit the budding vines in the first weeks of May. Like in 1991.
Atlantic ocean Heat-reservoir Sunny