The official guide to the Medoc covers the best Bordeaux Wine from Margaux St. Julien Pauillac St. Estephe and the Haut Medoc appellations. This page offers complete profiles on all the best vineyards, wines and wineries in the Medoc with histories, wine tasting notes, images and buying guides with wine and food pairing tips.
In total, there are eight different, major appellations or communes located in the Left Bank of Bordeaux, which is referred to as the Medoc. The Medoc is the home to all but one of the official 1855 Classified Bordeaux wines. The Medoc is also where you find all the the Bordeaux wines classified as Cru Bourgeois.
While the Medoc has been populated since Roman times, the area did not become what wine lovers in numerous countries consider the world’s epicenter for fine wine until the start of the 18th century. It was at that point that the majority of the land in the Medoc switched to the cultivation of grapes for the production of Bordeaux wine. Prior to that, much of the land was used for other agricultural products, hunting grounds and vacation escapes for the wealthy.
The most popular grape used for Bordeaux wine from the Medoc is Cabernet Sauvignon, followed by Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Carmenere. Only red wine is produced in the Medoc. However, there are some estates in the Medoc that also make dry, white Bordeaux wine. Those wines are sold as generic AOC Bordeaux.
The Medoc is the Bordeaux wine producing region where you will find the appellations that many of the most famous Bordeaux wine producers call home, including chateaux located in the following important Bordeaux wine producing communes.
The Medoc is a massive, long, peninsula shaped region that starts at its southern tip just outside the city of Bordeaux, going past the Pointe de Grave in far north, and finishing when it meets the Atlantic ocean. This is important because that is where the original name of the region comes from. Loosely translated, the Med means in the middle of, and the OC means oceans or bodies of water. The Medoc is situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gironde river.
At its southern tip, outside the city of Bordeaux you have the beginnings of the Haut Medoc. Next, you’ll find the commune of Margaux. As you continue to travel north, the Medoc includes the famous appellations of Saint Julien, Pauillac and Saint Estephe in the far north.
The Medoc as we mentioned earlier, also includes the Haut Medoc, which contains the Moulis, Listrac and Medoc appellations. In total, there are give or take 13,727 hectares planted with vines in the Medoc. Looking on a map, the Medoc starts just north of the city of Bordeaux and extends north, past St. Estephe to the Le Verdon port.
The Medoc is not completely populated with vines. A large portion of the area known as the Landes du Medoc, which takes up much of the western half or the area, coupled with the far north of the region is devoted to verdant landscapes, trees and forests. These natural land conditions, along with the influence of the Atlantic ocean and various rivers help create the vital environment needed for the vineyards in the Medoc.
With the exception of Chateau Haut Brion, the Medoc is where you will find all the First Growth Bordeaux, as well as all the other 1855 Classified Bordeaux wines and more than 200 wines classified as Cru Bourgeois. Most of the Cru Bourgeois estates are located in Haut Medoc, but others are situated from St. Estephe to Margaux as well. You can also find more than 40 chateaux classed as Artisan Crus, cooperatives and a countless array of small, unknown growers in the Medoc.
GRAPE VARIETIES: Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Merlot
SOIL: Alluvial terraces of gravel deposits, light, good for Cabernet, and deep and clay-like, good for Merlot
SURFACE AREA: 5,522 ha
AROMAS: Licorice, red and black berries and small fruits, animal and roasted coffee aroma appears with aging
TASTE: Structured, robust, round
AGING POTENTIAL: 5 - 20 years (or more for the finest wines)
SERVING TEMPERATURE: 59 - 62.6° F
If you’re interested in learning more about the wines of the Medoc, please visit The Wine Cellar Insider