Comprising just more than 4,500 hectares – and 28% of the Médoc vineyard area – the Haut-Médoc appellation d’origine controllée (AOC) is a genuine gem of the Left Bank. Stretching more than 50 kilometres from the north of Saint-Estèphe to the suburbs of Bordeaux, the area is home to five Cru Classé estates and a plethora of Cru Bourgeois.
The appellation sweeps through the illustrious villages of Pauillac, Margaux, Saint-Julien, and the like – which, of course, have their own appellations. Yet, on the outskirts of some of these villages, the Haut-Médoc is home to some fantastic terroirs and properties. The key grape varieties are, of course, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, both with around 45% each of vineyard share. Alluvial terraces of gravel deposits provide near-perfect conditions for Cabernet Sauvignon. Further inland, the clay soils offer supreme conditions for Merlot to thrive.
Without question, the Haut-Médoc is where all Left Bank bargain hunters should be looking to snaffle some superb wines for their cellars.
- Alistair Cooper,
Master of Wine & Esteemed Critic