St Estèphe, the most northern of the four great Médoc communal crus, has a unique terroir made up of layers of gravel on a dense clay base. Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon thrive, and the clay subsoil creates powerful, textured tannins which ensure St Estèphe stands out from the pack. It is home to many excellent châteaux such as Cos d’Estournel, Montrose and Calon Ségur.
South of St Estèphe is Pauillac, king of the Left Bank communes, home to three first growths and a host of other classified growths. On its well-draining, gravelly soils Cabernet Sauvignon reaches fantastic heights of complexity and concentration. The wines are full-bodied yet fresh with compact tannins and classic Bordeaux aromatics: pencil shavings, cedar and blackcurrant.
Located directly south of the city of Bordeaux, Pessac-Léognan is famous for its intense gravel soils, deposited during the last Ice Age, which add profound mineral complexity to its wines. Producing superb red and white wines, the most renowned châteaux of the commune include Haut Brion, La Mission Haut Brion, Haut Bailly and Domaine de Chevalier.