The municipal appellation is the northern part of the Graves area(Bordeaux) and is named after the two most important towns. It covers 1,300 hectares of vineyards in the communes of Cadaujac, Canéjan, Gradignan, Léognan, Martillac, Mérignac, Pessac, Saint-Médard-d'Eyrans, Talence and Villeneuve-d'Ornon. Before the classification as a separate appellation in 1987, which André Lurton successfully tried to obtain, the area was called Haut-Graves. Around the town of Pessac, the Clairet was produced in the Middle Ages.
The dry white wines from Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon are produced with barrel fermentation and oak ageing and are among the best in Bordeaux. The red wines are mainly blended from Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon with shares of Cabernet Franc and Malbec(Cot). These are the typical grape varieties of the Rive gauche (left bank). However, the cuvées in the vineyards are very different.
In 1953 and 1959 (at that time still in the Haut-Graves section within Graves) 16 châteaux were classified as 'Cru Classé des Graves'. These are Château Bouscaut, Château Carbonnieux, Château Couhins, Château Couhins-Lurton, Château de Fieuzal, Château Haut-Bailly, Château Haut-Brion (incidentally, the only one of the 61 châteaux classified in 1855 that is not in the Médoc area), Château La Mission Haut-Brion, Château La Tour-Haut-Brion, Château La Tour-Martillac, Château Laville-Haut-Brion, Château Malartic-Lagravière, Château Olivier, Château Pape-Clément, Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte and Domaine de Chevalier