Saint-Julien is the smallest of the four main Médoc appellations with 2,175 acres of vineyards. It is just south of Pauillac on the left bank of the Gironde, and although it has no First Growth châteaux, its 11 Classified Growth estates are widely admired. Robert M. Parker Jr. has written that winemaking in Saint-Julien from all classifications “is consistently both distinctive and brilliant.” He adds it is Médoc’s “most underrated commune.” The best-known estates are Léoville Las Cases, Ducru-Beaucaillou, Léoville Poyferré, Léoville Barton and Gruaud Larose, and most of those have riverside estates. The soil in this appellation is gravelly with clay. Cabernet Sauvignon is the main grape grown, and it is blended with Cabernet Franc, Merlot and sometimes small amounts of Petit Verdot.