The Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux appellation is one of the most prolific in the Bordeaux region and produces some of its best-value red wines – their prices unaffected by the high status associated with appellations such as Medoc and Graves.
The Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux title is separate from the larger Entre-Deux-Mers appellation which dominates the remainder of the land between the Garonne and Dordogne rivers, having gained its independence because of the higher quality of its wines. The smaller appellations of Cadillac, Sainte-Croix-du-Mont and Loupiac form islands in the south of Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux, and are noted for their ability to produce sweet wines of high quality.
Cadillac was awarded its own independent AOC Cadillac appellation for sweet white wines in 1973. Its red wines continued to be labeled as Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux until 2009, when they became part of the new Cotes de Bordeaux appellation.
The Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux appellation runs for 40 miles (60km) along the eastern (right) bank of the Garonne river, just before it passes Bordeaux city en route to the Atlantic Ocean. The south-eastern end of this long, thin appellation extends to the very south of the Bordeaux region. More than 30 individual communes contribute to its output, with names like Beguey, Langoiran, Le Tourne, Rions and Paillet being added to their wine labels.
Close to the Garonne river (where some patches of land are able to claim only the Bordeaux AC title), the soils are gravelly and high in chalky clay, but the soil types vary as they move further away from the river.
The wines produced under the Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux title are mostly red and are based the classic right bank varieties: Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Dry white wines made here from Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc are labeled AC Bordeaux, as they are not regarded as being of sufficient quality to carry the more specific Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux title.