Graves and Sauternes wine route

Larger than the Medoc but producing half the amount of wine, Graves and Sauternes wine route forged a reputation for claret in England, with trade dating back to the marriage of Eleanor d’Aquitaine and the English king in the 12C. Wine production in the region, which stretches from the left bank of the Garonne to the forest of Les Landes, dates back to the Ist century. 

Today, Graves and Sauternes wine route has 6 great appellations: Graves et Graves Supérieures, Pessac-Léognan, Barsac, Sauternes et Cérons. The name of this wine route comes from the region’s gravelly, pebbly soil which is perfect for grape growing. 

And then there’s neighbouring Sauternes.  In the 1855 classification of Bordeaux, the Medoc was the source of all but one red wine -  but Sauternes was the source of all the whites.  The most famous of them all, Château Yquem was singled out as a superior producer and the rest of the classified chateaux were divided into two categories.  The 3 appellations are Graves, Pessac Léognan and Sauternes-Barsac.

Feel like you want to join a tour & or a tasting in a winery? Why not meet our ambassadors : Château Haut-Brion , Château Pape Clément , Château Smith Haut Lafitte or Château Yquem in Sauternes

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tasting at the winery

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Private tour and wine tasting in Château La Tour Blanche
Winery tour and tasting in Château Roquetaillade La Grange
La Petite Graves Visit

Graves and Sauternes, a red, white and gold wine route

Graves and Sauternes wine route is known for its microclimate which is perfect for grape growing. The red wines are made from Merlot, Cabernet, Malbec and Petit Verdot grapes which gives the classic, ruby red colour to the wines. The dry white wines are made from Semillon, Sauvignon and Muscadelle grapes. To the south of Graves, Sauternes is located on a gently rolling terrain, with the Citron stream running through it. The combination of the morning mists from the stream and the autumn sun contribute to the appearance of the ‘noble rot’ used to make the world renowned sweet white wines.

Verre vin blanc  

The must-see on Graves and Sauternes wine route

Another unmissable on Graves and Sauternes wine route is the Sources de Caudalie at Martillac. With a Michelin starred restaurant, the Vinothérapie Spa and a 5* Palace, this is the place to come for a memorable meal, an afternoon being cossetted or a night of luxury.

The region is also the birthplace of Lillet, the local aperitif made famous in the Bond films. The Maison Lillet is worth a visit - founded in 1872 in the village of Podensac. They offer guided tours and tastings.

There are organised trips to the neighbouring Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, might include a visit to the tonnellerie (barrel making) or a tour of the contemporary art collection or the interactive visit ‘In the footsteps of the winemaker”, tracing the day with one of the specialists at the Chateau.

Chateau de Cazeneuve is also worth a visit. Home to King Henry 1V and Queen Margot, their sumptuous apartments are open to visitors as are the medieval cellars and troglodyte caves. 

Amongst the wealth of chateaux open to visitors are Chateau La Brede, the birthplace of Montesquieu, and Chateaux de Malle and Mongenan which feature listed gardens. 

The UNESCO classed gothic cathedral of St-Jean-Baptiste which is inscribed on the pilgrim’s route to Compostelle can be found at Bazas, birthplace of the French poet Ausone.


From illustrious grand cru classé, such as Chateau Haut-Bailly to tiny family run properties, there’s a huge choice in the region. 

Paysage Graves et sauternes  

Chateau Haut-Bailly is open year round to visitors (booking essential). They offer classic and insider visits. It’s also possible to book a private table for lunch or dinner at the chateau, with a pairing of fine wines and seasonal cuisine.

The stunning Chateau Filhot produces AOC Sauternes wines. Owned by the Comte Henri de Vaucelles and situated on the southern slopes of Sauternes the chateau is known for its fine wines and exquisite ‘English Gardens’ which date back to the 19C.

The dynamic young team at Chateau Caillivet are keen to share their passion for winemaking. They are one of the few Bordeaux chateaux (if not the only) with their own herd of Bazas cattle.


The Auberge les Vignes, situated in the heart of Sauternes itself has it on the menu, cooked over vine cuttings - of course. There’s an excellent wine list with Chateau Yquem by the glass.

At the Michelin starred restaurant Claude Darroze in Langon, you can try some of the region’s seasonal specialities, such as Lamprey eel and the fresh water fish Alose a sought after regional delicacy.

And when you’ve finished your meal, don’t forget to have a look at what the region has to offer on and off the water ro work off those calories. Hiking, golf, cycling……..