Château La Mission Haut-Brion, a Classified Red Wine of Graves, has one of the most intriguing histories in Bordeaux. Wine was produced on the estate, located in Talence, in the early 16th century by the de Roustaing family. In 1682 the estate was bequeathed to an order of Catholic friars who not only built an architecturally significant chapel, which is today part of the estate, but who became excellent viticulturalists. In the early 19th century the estate was bought by a native of New Orleans of French descent who wanted to retire in Bordeaux. By the early 20th century the estate’s wines were considered so fine that they sold for more than the wines Châteaux Margaux and Latour. The estate continued to be well-managed, and after several changes in ownership it now belongs to the Dillon family, which also owns Château Haut-Brion. La Mission owns 51.6 acres of vineyards planted to 45% Merlot, 48% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Cabernet Franc.
Pessac-Léognan was created in 1987 from the northern part of the left bank Graves appellation. Before then it was simply part of Graves, or sometimes it was called Haut-Graves. Unlike many other Bordeaux appellations, Pessac-Léognan is known for both red and dry white wines, although its reds are more famous. The appellation includes ten communes and the area’s most important châteaux, including Château Haut-Brion, the only non-Médoc estate included in the 1855 Bordeaux classification. There are 2,964 acres of vineyards in Pessac-Léognan and 16 classified growth estates. The main red grapes grown are Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, along with a small amount of Cabernet Franc. White grapes grown are Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, with a little Muscadelle. Pessac-Léognan is considered to have the best terroir of the greater Graves region.