Haut-Medoc produces only red wines (220,000 hl/year) on 4,800 hectares of clay and limestone soils. Maturing in oak barrels is very frequent to give the wines leather aromas.
The AOC (Appellation d'origine contrôlée) Haut-Médoc or Haut-Médoc controlled appellation is part of the Bordeaux vineyard. It is a fairly large regional area of exploitation. For centuries, the region's productions have been reputed.
What you need to know about the Haut-Médoc appellation
Haut-Médoc wines come from the department of Gironde in the Aquitaine region. More specifically, they are produced in the south of the Médoc vineyards. They are not to be mistaken with the wines from the north of the estate which benefit from the Médoc appellation.
The production area is located in the north of Bordeaux and runs along the upper reaches of the estuary. Médoc wines began to become famous around the 16th and 17th centuries. The appellation was officially recognised on November 14, 1936. The decree was updated in December 2011.
The AOC Haut-Médoc is planted on a soil mainly composed of gravel. It is a mixture of sand and gravel. A clay-limestone subsoil is also present in the area. The vines are planted on well-drained parts, which gives tasty ageing wines. A temperate oceanic climate also allows to obtain outstanding wines.
How to recognize Haut-Médoc wines?
The Haut-Médoc appellation only produces red wines. Thanks to its 4,800 hectares, its winegrowers bottle 220,000 hectolitres of wine each year. To obtain them, the winegrowers mainly work with Cabernet Sauvignon. Sometimes they also use Merlot. Under certain conditions, they combine these grape varieties with Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot.
Once vinified, the grapes give intense coloured wines. The latter varies between bordeaux, garnet and ruby. It is also a sign that Haut-Médoc wines are full-bodied. Over the years, they keep a light colour.
The reds surprise with a variety of aromas. You will detect a hint of blackcurrant with roasted and spicy notes. Added to this are woody and red fruit scents.
On the palate, these wines have varied flavours. In their early youth, they have a strong tannic side. Some wines can only be consumed after a certain number of years. After this time, they become supple and fleshy.
When you taste a Haut-Médoc wine, you will find the same taste as the scents you have noted. For your information, the flavours of these drinks get richer with age.
How can I inform myself on the Haut-Médoc appellation?
Do you need information on the AOC and indications to make a purchase of Haut-Médoc wines? Take a tour of two or three estates. The producers will give you all the explanations you need.
The Château Tour Marcillanet is one of the estates that you can visit. Spread over 16 hectares, this vineyard is located in the commune of Saint Laurent. Here, you will know how the Cabernet Sauvignon, the main grape variety of the production area, is worked.
You will also discover the techniques used to obtain powerful, elegant wines with great aromatic finesse. At the end of the visit, you will be able to purchase Haut-Médoc wines directly on the premises.
And to go with your new acquisitions, prepare dishes based on red or white meat, game or poultry. If you like duck, know that Haut-Médoc reds make perfect accompaniments for duck foie gras in a casserole. They also go perfectly with Parmentier de confit de canard.
Red meat lovers will prefer the classic tartar or a tomato oxtail with these wines. When it comes to game, opt for buffalo stew.