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Flashcards in Médoc Deck (10):

Introduce the Medoc to a table

The Médoc AOP covers the entire wine-producing left bank of the Gironde Estuary, a 50-mile stretch northward from the city of Bordeaux. The Médoc AOP encompasses the Haut-Médoc AOP and the more prestigious communal appellations. While the term Médoc is often used to indicate left bank wines in general, the actual appellation is typically used by those châteaux who do not qualify for a more precise appellation; namely, those located in the marshy region north of St-Estèphe. In this northern region (the Bas-Médoc) vineyards are sparser and intermingled with forest, pasture and mixed agriculture. Drainage channels (jalles) criss-cross the low-lying, remote landscape and prevent the Médoc from reverting to swampland. Absent are the conspicuously grand châteaux of the Haut-Médoc, replaced by more modest farmhouses and estates. The Médoc is overwhelmingly devoted to red wine production: approximately 123 acres in the entire appellation are planted with white grapes. AOP wines must be red. Médoc AOP wines are often at their best after five years, but do not have the longevity or concentration of wines from further south. Merlot is grown in a higher proportion here than in the Haut-Médoc, as it performs more reliably in the waterlogged, clay-heavy soils of the Bas-Médoc. In warmer vintages, these wines can show good value and offer pleasant but simple fruit and earth flavors. They usually lack a new oak component, a financial concession for châteaux and co-operatives producing inexpensive bottles.


AOC Established:



Maximum Yields (Rendement de Base)

55 hl/ha


Minimum Must Weight:

180 g/l (189 g/l for Merlot)


Maximum Residual Sugar:

3 g/l



Wines may not be released until June 15 of the year following the harvest


Styles and Encépagement:

Rouge: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Carmenère


Minimum Potential Alcohol



Soil type

Terraces of alluvial gravel deposits, with the light soils favored by Cabernet and the deep clay soils preferred by Merlot


Surface area

5,652 ha