France: Bordeaux

Southern Graves and Sauternes

Home of the great sweet whites - dry whites and reds too
By Jane Anson

This Guide was last updated on 11 May 2010
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Main appellations


Appellation exclusively for sweet white wines made from botrytized grapes.


Appellation for sweet whites. Barsac wines are also entitled to use the Sauternes AC.


Regional appellation for both whites and reds. The reds account for up 75% of the production.


Officially an AC for dry, medium and sweet white wines with higher alcohol content, but in practice it refers to only sweet wine. The production is in decline.


Appellation for sweet white wines made from botrytized grapes. Any dry white wine or red made here is classified as Graves. Small production.


Generic appellation for reds, rosés and whites (mostly dry) for the whole region, and, with Bordeaux Supérieur is the only AC permitted for rosés within the southern Graves. Dry whites made in Sauternes are also labelled using this classification. In addition, some reds may on occasions be declassified to this appellation, or of course, if the château owns vineyards outside the Graves region it will use ‘Bordeaux AC’ for the blend.

Bordeaux Supérieur

Covering the same area as the basic Bordeaux AC but with an extra half degree of alcohol and lower yields.

Crémant de Bordeaux

A very small amount of sparkling wine is made under this appellation. The majority of grapes must be from the main Bordeaux varieties and 100% from the Bordeaux AC area. The Traditional Method (bottle fermentation) is used.

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