A dry red wine from Bordeaux, France. Médoc is home to many of the famous big name wines and is traditionally considered France's best red wine producing region.

The traditional Médoc style places heavy emphasis upon cabernet sauvignon, with merlot and cabernet franc taking a secondary role. Malbec and petit verdot are sometimes used in small quantities; carmenère is permitted but rarely grown. A Médoc is less fruity than a St-Emilion or Pomerol — this is largely due to the lower levels of merlot used.

Médoc wines benefit from at least two years of ageing. The better Médocs should be aged for much longer, with some of the best wines taking a decade or more to reach their best.

All good Médoc wine will be designated Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (abbreviated to AOC on wine lists). The Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur labels may also be used. The Médoc appellation (formerly known as Bas-Médoc) covers the northern-most peninsula of the region, whilst Haut-Médoc is used for wines further up the Gironde river — these are not indications of differing quality in themselves, although most of the very best wines are from Haut-Médoc.

Within the Haut-Médoc region there are six further communal appellations:

Very powerful and rich, but few prestigious vineyards. Best aged for ten to fifteen years.
Higher levels of cabernet sauvignon than most. Sometimes described as being the silkiest of the Médocs. Best aged for around fifteen years.
Moulis en Médoc
The smallest of the communal appellations. Varying characteristics. Typically best aged for around ten years, but varies depending upon the vintage and vineyard.
Home of some of the best Bordeaux reds. Can be aged for fifteen to thirty years depending upon the vineyard; even less well suited to early drinking than other Haut-Médocs.
An ancient wine producing region dating back to at least the thirteenth century. Often described as the most muscular of the Médocs. Varying aging potential.
Between Margaux and Pauillac in style. Best aged for ten to fifteen years, or longer for certain producers.

As well as the regional appellations, Médoc is also covered by the Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855 — with the exception of Château Haut-Brion from Graves, all of the red great growths on this list are from Médoc. The classification defines five additional labels for the very best wines:

The premiers grands crus classés are the very best wines. From Médoc, only Château Lafite-Rothschild (Pauillac), Château Latour (Pauillac), Château Margaux (Margaux) and Château Mouton-Rothschild (Pauillac, promoted to this category in 1973) can carry this designation. With the exception of the occasional cult offering from Pomerol, these tend to be the most expensive red wines available.

The other four designations are, in decreasing order of excellence, deuxième grand cru classé, troisième grand cru classé, quatrième grand cru classé and cinquième grand cru classé. All of these wines carry very high price tags — even if some are no longer quite as excellent as they were in 1855, the prestige carried by the label makes these wines very popular.

Médoc should be decanted at least an hour prior to drinking and served at room temperature. It is an ideal accompaniment to heavy roast beef and roast lamb dishes.

Mé`doc" (?), n. [Cf. Mayduke.]

A class of claret wines, including several varieties, from the district of Médoc in the department of Gironde.


© Webster 1913.

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