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Graves

The name Graves means the ‘Gravels of Bordeaux’, and refers to the region's gravely soil. AOC Graves is the key appellation which covers the region's wines – red wines must be made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec or Petit Verdot, while white wines must be made from Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle, and must reach a minimum alcohol level of 11%. The Graves AOC mainly consists of Merlot with over 50% of the plantings, while Cabernet Sauvignon has almost 40% of plantings. The reds have hints of raspberry, strawberry and violets as well as spices, chocolate and vanilla. The region also produces sweet white wines, under the appellation Graves Superieures which contain a high level of natural residual sugar. This appellation does not cover the wines of Sauternes and Barsac, or the sweet wines of Cerons.