An extremely large appellation that stretches from Soulac in the far northern reaches of Bordeaux and runs all the way south to the city of Bordeaux. In theory, this appellation covers some of the greatest wine making spots (and wineries) in the world, but in practice the Médoc appellation refers to wines produced from grapes grown to the north of the lofty environs of the Haut-Médoc, in areas not as perfectly situated as those further to the south. The Médoc is not nearly as famous either, with small houses and pasture land more common than the grand Château, though over 3 million cases of wine are produced here annually.
The soil varies from gravel, to sand, to limestone. Only red wine is produced here, the grapes used similar to those from the Haut-Médoc, focusing primarily on Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, though less Petite Verdot is found and more Malbec. The Médoc allows slightly higher yields and slightly lower minimum levels of alcohol than the better communes of the Haut-Médoc, thus the wines are a step down in intensity and quality, though there are many fine small Châteaus that produce excellent wines at reasonable prices. In fact, the Médoc can be a great place to look when hunting for the essence and mystique of Bordeaux yet not looking to mortgage the house for one of the classified growths found further to the south.
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