Graves is on the left bank of the Garonne River south of the city of Bordeaux. The appellation takes its name from its soil, which is intensely gravelly thanks to glaciers that melted in the area a few million years ago. Graves is generally thought of as the birthplace of Bordeaux wines, since “claret,” as the English historically called Bordeaux reds, were being produced for export in Graves and shipped to England as early as the 12th century. Some Graves châteaux, including Haut-Brion, trace their history to the late 16th century and Thomas Jefferson was one of several notable wine connoisseurs who wrote admiringly about the wines of Château Haut-Brion. Haut-Brion’s popularity with international celebrities is perhaps why it was the only non-Médoc château to be included in the 1855 Bordeaux classification. Graves makes red and white wines. The reds are predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon, blended with Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec. The whites are made of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle. The Graves AOC includes nearly 8,000 acres of vineyards. In 1953 a Graves classification was created for red wines, and in 1959 white wines were added.