Graves: The First Bordeaux Graves is the oldest and most historic of all the Bordeaux communes. Before Latour, Lafite, Margaux, and the rest of the well-known names of the Médoc even existed or had even seen a cultivated vine, there was Graves. In fact, Graves has been the home of cultivated vines since as early as the 1st century AD; due at least in part to the Romans inability to grow other crops in the graveled soil from which the name Graves is derived. The stone and gravel deposits are vestiges of the last Ice Age, a bane to most farmers but a boon to grape growers, whose vines struggle deep into the thin porous soil to draw life and subtle complex flavors from the nutrients below. The wines of Graves appear to be the first Bordeaux wines to be exported, with archeological evidence that Roman garrisons in Britain were the happy recipients of Bordeaux’s quintessential wines. And by the early 12th century, Graves was the most sort after wine in England and beyond for its quality as well as its proximity to the city and port of Bordeaux itself, which lies just a few kilometers from Graves. Today, the northern section of Graves called Pessac Léognon must battle the urban sprawl that has broken out of the confines of the city of Bordeaux and spread to the nearby suburbs of Talence and Pessac. A little south of these towns lays the pastoral heart of Graves, a pretty, rural country that includes La Brède, where vineyards mingle with pastures and pine forests. Here, life remains wedded to the land and the joys of the vine. Graves is rightly famous for both its red and white wines. At their best, the red wines of Graves are unsurpassed for their aromatic beauty as well as their smooth, rich flavors. Earthy fragrant aromas that resemble cedar, a classic cigar box scent, black currant, and tobacco emanate from red Graves and form a bouquet that is frequently described as enchanting and profound. Moreover, fine red Graves is often the most supple on the palate. It is also the most flavorful, and easily appreciated of all Bordeaux reds. White Graves is a dry, very aromatic wine that emits great freshness, along with substantial flavor. Perhaps, the greatest event in Graves in the last twenty years has been the revolution that has taken hold among the producers of white Graves. Once, an obscure and expensive proposition that did not always travel well, contemporary white Graves has taken on vigor, personality and even an exotic edge that underscores the physiological ripeness that was often absent in white Graves in years past. At their best, the finest whites Graves can rival the best white wines of France.