I had always associated the wines of Graves in the Gironde département with powerful whites – until a trip to the area revealed that its reds are just as good. Indeed, some would say they are better.
Graves stretches along the southern bank of the Garonne river, to the south east of the city of Bordeaux. As its name suggests, the soil is gravelly.
Its dry white wines blend sauvignon blanc and sémillon. Often they are aged in oak to produce a fuller-bodied wine than those from the Loire.
The area is also noted for its sweet white wines, notably Sauternes and Barsac.
I remember visiting the area during a wine-tasting holiday to Bordeaux some years back. Our trip included a stop at the Château de Chantegrive in Podensac. Our dégustation took place over lunch in the chateau’s impressive dining room, with the wines paired to the food being served.
The reds stick to the classic Bordeaux style of blending cabernet sauvignon and merlot, but the results are earthier.
Now, whenever I see a red Graves on sale, I’m no longer wary of buying it. Especially if it’s from the Château de Chantegrive.