The Graves area in the Bordeaux region is an ancient wine-growing region. As early as the 1st century, the Romans planted vineyards here and the Roman author Columella (1st century AD) wrote enthusiastically about the ageing wines. Around 1300, the Archbishop of Bordeaux (later Pope Clement V) founded a vineyard that still exists today under the name Château Pape-Clément. The fame of Bordeaux was helped by the wines from Graves. The vineyard area was still about 10,000 hectares at the end of the 19th century, but in the last hundred years many vineyards were lost due to the growth of the city of Bordeaux. However, even today Graves encompasses the city area (the Châteaux Haut-Brion, La Mission and Les Carmes are located in a suburb). The vineyards stretch 50 kilometres south from Bordeaux and cover around 4,650 hectares, of which the regional appellation Graves covers around 3,000 hectares. The three appellations Barsac, Cérons and Sauternes are embedded as enclaves in the south. The area to the north, formerly known as Haut-Graves, where all the better châteaux are located, became the Pessac-Léognan appellation in 1987.
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