Created quite recently, in 1987, Pessac-Léognan is a sub appellation of the Graves, although the region as a whole claims to be the oldest wine region in Bordeaux dating back to the Roman times. It is thanks to the efforts of André Lurton, one of the best-known growers in the area, that the appellation was formed.
It is the home of all of the classified growths of the Graves from the celebrated Chateau Haut-Brion to famous names such as Chateau Haut Bailly or Chateau Couhins. There are 16 classified growths in Pessac-Léognan that make up about 20% of the total production.
Lying south of the city of Bordeaux and stretching out between the Garonne River to the east and the Landes forest to the west, the soils are made up of gravel, pebbles and shingle hillocks that produce both red and white wines. The grapes grown here are primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot for the reds and Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon for the whites.
Pessac-Léognan red wines are known for their elegance and balance between power and refinement. Famous for their pure fruit flavours, tasting notes often refer to the mineral notes of graphite or lead pencil found at the end of the palate. The wines tend to be firm and quite tannic in their youth but can develop beautifully over several decades to reveal a host of flavours including spice, cedar, graphite, licorice and tobacco.
The white wines of Pessac-Léognan are the greatest white wines produced in Bordeaux and can age impressively. They are dry wines with great finesse and power due to the blend of the Semillon and Sauvignon grapes, often fermented in and almost always aged in French oak barrels. Straw yellow in colour when young with aromas of box tree and lime, the wines develop to reveal notes of honey and muesli and powerful aromatic flavours of blackcurrant, bay leaf and citrus fruits.
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