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Discover the Reds of the Médoc

Of course, there is the heritage of the region’s Grands Crus which forged its reputation, but they only represent 22% of production. Everything else is a panoply of small and medium-sized properties belonging to families, or even to wine growers who sell their harvest to cooperative cellars having the means to afford the cutting edge of technical progress in the production of wines. These vintages will stand out at very affordable prices! In short, the majority of Médoc Châteaux are human-sized establishments whose souls and the interests of artisans are firmly rooted in the heart of wine production… 

Despite being as visually unprepossessing as the rest of the Médoc, this large red-wine appellation is home to some of the world’s greatest wines. Its 4,500 hectares of vineyards form a largely continuous strip that follows the Gironde from St Seurin-de-Cadourne to Blanquefort. All the great communes of the Left Bank fall within its boundaries: Margaux, St Julien, Pauillac and St Estèphe.


If Bordeaux has made its fame with the art of blending, where we find judiciously blended Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet-Sauvignon, it is truly in the Médoc that the greatest proportion of the king of black grape varieties is found. Its terroir with clayey-gravelly soil sometimes mixed with sand makes it a warmer environment more conducive to the harmonious development of Cabernet Sauvignon, while allowing it a more complete ripening and the achievement of a powerful tannic structure but which retains a some flexibility. They are also excellent wines to keep.

Haut-Médoc wines tend to be firm and fine with generous fruit and a nice minerality. They come from loftier vineyards and offer higher quality and more complexity than those labelled simply as ‘Médoc’. Almost all wines are a blend of the principal varieties – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc – which helps producers hedge their bets if the slightly capricious climate causes one variety to fail. Small amounts of Petit Verdot, Malbec and even Carmenère are also used.


The Haut-Médoc being further inland provides greater shelter from the elements. Therefore, the grapes produce deeper more concentrated black fruit flavours and the wines have a richer tannin structure. Often the wines are aged in barrel giving toasty vanilla and sweet nutmeg aromas that balance out the fruit. They are generally higher quality than the Médoc alone, offering huge complexity, mineral characters.

The wines of the Médoc are very suited to food. Rich, hearty dishes complement the wines’ structure and flavours. Dishes containing beef are excellent companions. Cottage pie, a traditional English classic, is perfect as it both softens the wines’ tannins and highlights the fruit flavours. Pumpkin or butternut squash meals have a similar effect. Ideally, to create the perfect Médoc pairing, the food should have enough flavour and texture to balance out the bold red wines.

Sustainable Viticulture

Because we all care about consuming foods that have been healthily grown, it is good to know that the Médoc region has also followed suit with various programs concerned with the environment and biodiversity. To date, the Médoc, Haut-Médoc and Listrac AOCs have observed an average of nearly 90% of their areas certified or in the process of being certified, ranging from sustainable viticulture and the control of several elements associated with respect for the environment, organic certification. If we include the other communal appellations Margaux, Moulis, Saint-Julien, Pauillac and Saint-Estèphe which are also very advanced in terms of environmental commitments, we can now estimate that 70% of Médoc properties are involved in an environmental practice.

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