By Lisa Rowlands

Moulis-en-Médoc’s fifty wine-growers share six-hundred-and-thirty hectares, producing around four-million bottles each vintage. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec (also known here by the alias Côt), Carménère and Petit Verdot are all permissible plantings within the appellation. It is first two grapes however, which dominate the vineyards and the resultant wines, with the minor varieties being used in small quantities to bring aromatic complexity and structure to the blend.

Whilst it was the Romans who first cultivated grapes in this part of the Médoc, it wasn’t until the sixteenth century that viticultural development really began to take hold in the area. Today, the AOCs label can be applied to red wines produced within and around the village of Moulis, as well as from parcels in Arcins, Avensan, Castelnau, Cussac, Lamarque and Listrac. To ensure consistent quality, the yield is restricted to forty-five hectolitres per hectare, the planting density must fall between 6,500 and 10,000 plants per hectare and the resultant wines must have an alcohol level in excess of 10.5%.

Perhaps the appellation’s most well-known estate is the somewhat bizarrely titled ‘Château Chasse-Spleen’, an acclaimed Cru Bourgeois property in the eastern part of Moulis, close to the village of Grand-Poujeaux. Here, the vineyards are formed of free-draining Gunzian gravel on loose, stony soils, a contrast to the clay-limestone of the central and western quarters.