Graves (including Pessac-Léognan) is a unique left bank Bordeaux district as it is well known for both its fine red and white wines. Graves (lit. gravel) unsurprisingly takes its name from the gravel soil prominent in its north (where the higher quality sub-appellation, Péssac-Leognan includes many of the district’s finest châteaux, including Château Haut-Brion).
The red and white châteaux of the Graves were classified in 1953 and 1959 respectively. Thirteen châteaux were given cru classé status, six of these acquiring status for both their red and white wines. Predominant red wine grape varieties in the Graves are Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, while white wines are based on Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle. Graves' reds use more Merlot than Médoc blends and tend to be a softer style.