Occupying the northern part of the Graves, the Pessac-Léognan region is now a common appellation. Its creation, that can be justified by its historical role (these are the old suburban vineyards producing the Medieval clarets), is explained by the originality of its soil.
The terraces that can be found in the south give way to a more rugged topography in the north. The area between Martillac and Mérignac consists of an archipelago of gravel ridges that have excellent grape producing qualities because of their soils, consisting of a mixture of pebbles and by its steep slopes, that provide an excellent drainage.
In 1855, Haut-Brion was the only non-Médoc chateau being classified. In 1959, 16 wines from the Graves region were also classified, all of which are to be found in the area of the current appellation Pessac-Léognan. On September 9, 1987, the Pessac-Leognan appellation has been created by decree of the Ministry of Agriculture. A quarter of the appellation is concerned, ie the communes of Cadaujac, Canéjan, Gradignan, Léognan, Martillac, Mérignac, Pessac, Saint-Médard-Eyrans, Talence and Villenave d’Ornon.
Unfortunately, this unique land, located near the outskirts of Bordeaux, has been under the attack of urbanization for decades.
The soil is composed of terraces built by the river Garonne that has brought a variety of stony debris at some of its major floods, sometimes coming from quite far away, such as the Pyrenees.
The Graves Pessac-Léognan, therefore, is based on a subsoil of clay, sand, hardpan, and shelly limestone. The larger stones, composed of water-eroded pebbles, have a thickness ranging from twenty centimeters to three meters or more.
Perfectly reflecting solar radiation, the gravel gradually redistributes the heat on the grapes. Deposits form ridges perfectly drawn in the countryside, enjoying an excellent exhibition with slopes always strong enough to provide a natural drainage.
This drainage is reinforced by a water system of small streams and tributaries of the Garonne.
The red wines have the general characteristics of the Graves while distinguishing themselves by their bouquet, their velvety and their structure.
As for the dry white wines, they are particularly suited to be aged in barrels, enabling them to acquire great richness in flavors, with delicate notes of juniper and lime.