Haut-Medoc is one of the most prestigeous regions of Bordeaux, including such well known appellations as Pauillac, Margaux and St Julien. Haut-Medoc lies northwest of the city of Bordeaux. This was a marshy area which was drained in the 1600s, and now produces some of the best wines in the world.
Before the 17th century the Haut-Medoc was a region of salt marshes mainly used for animal grazing. Dutch merchants wanted to provide the British wine market with an alternative to the Portuguese and Graves wines that were dominating the market. Using technology that was ahead of its time, they managed to convert much of this marshland into usable wine growing land. Soon the Bordeaux wine regions of Saint-Julien, Pauillac, Margaux and Saint-Estephe were established. By the 19th century wines from the Haut-Medoc region had gained international recognition as some of the best produced in the Bordeaux region. This reputation still rings true.
The Haut-Medoc AOC covers approximately 10,500 acres (4270 ha). It's Southern edge borders the city of Bordeaux, and the Medoc AOC to the North. Haut-Medoc encompasses a large part of the viticultural strip of land along the Medoc peninsula, covering approximately 37 miles (60km) of it's length. There are 15 communes exclusive to the Haut-Medoc appellation, Saint-Seurin-de-Cadourne, Blanquefort, Ludon, Parempuyre, Macau, Arcins, cussac and Lamarque are located along the waterfront of Garonne and Gironde, While Saint-Laurent-Medoc, Saint-Sauveur, Le Taillan, Vertheuil, Avensan, Le Pian-Medoc, and Cissac lie inland.
Soils vary within this region. Along the river the soils are composed of thick gravel layers on a base of heavy clay. These well drained, warm terraces are perfect for growing the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Inland the soils tend to be more of a deep clay composition, which is better suited for the growing of Merlot grapes.
These wines can vary depending on the blend of grapes, and method of production used. They are typically well balanced, medium to full bodied red wines, that mature and mellow with age. Aromas and flavors of dark cherries, various berry fruits and vanilla are often present, along with a earthy barnyard quality. These fabulous reds pair well with poultry, rabbit, veal and various cheeses.